Richard Branson References WWII After Revealing Private Island Devastation

REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Jena Greene Reporter
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Richard Branson has finally emerged from his private home on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.

The billionaire rode out Hurricane Irma in his basement last week and is now revealing the extensive damage his home sustained.

Branson explained in a blog post that many of the buildings on Necker Island have been largely obliterated:

Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged. We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean. But we are very fortunate to have a strong cellar built into Necker’s Great House and were very lucky all of our teams who stayed on Island during the storm are safe and well.

His exotic collection of wildlife braved the storm with him as well. He owns over 80 lemurs, hundreds of flamingos, iguanas that are close to extinction, tortoises, and rare birds.

He assured the public that most of his wildlife is safe and used to hurricane-type conditions in the tropics.

But it’s not his mansion or the wildlife that Branson is most concerned about. Instead, he’s set up a relief effort to help those less fortunate who were affected by Hurricane Irma. The British business owner claimed that the island region needed a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan,” a reference to aid the U.S. delivered to Europe after WWII.

He stated later:

As a Group, we are mobilising support for the British Red Cross, bringing in supplies through Virgin Atlantic (my son Sam has also flown into Barbados, bringing emergency supplies to the BVI via boat). We are using our foundation Virgin Unite to coordinate raising money for longer-term reconstruction projects. Virgin Unite is also working with Unite BVI and Virgin Limited Edition to support the local BVI communities. They will be working with local organisations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families and communities affected by this disaster. We will support the mid to long term efforts on the ground and help provide support as those affected recover from the disaster. 

Branson also commented on job creation, stating it was “paramount” to island relief efforts.