US Citizens in US Virgin Islands need to turn in their guns


Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, had no desire to evacuate his home in the British Virgin Islands, which was directly in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Authorities rushed food, water, medicine and temporary shelter to the US Virgin Islands Monday after Hurricane Irma ripped through the islands, as former National Basketball Association star Tim Duncan led a fund-raising campaign.

"If our really strong buildings sustained such damage, I am so anxious for elsewhere in the BVI and Caribbean". The storm destroyed almost all buildings on the island of Barbuda, killing a two-year-old child as a family tried to escape, before hitting the French territories of St Martin and St Barts, leaving a further seven people dead. Launched in 1948, the aid effort concluded in 1952. As Sam said, "homes can be rebuilt but lives can't".

Branson and his company are looking to plant seeds in the recovery effort by tasking his foundation, Virgin Unite, to coordinate aid and supplies in the short term and reconstruction efforts in the months ahead, Branson wrote.

Instead, Branson declared that he would hunker down with his team on his private, 74-acre Caribbean island - "as I have been on the three times we have had hurricanes over the past 30 years".

No tweets, no Instagrams, no updates on Branson's blog - nothing.

Branson had said his compound was built with reinforced hurricane blinds created to withstand high winds.

The British government said it had sent 20 tons of aid to the affected areas, including shelter kits and solar lanterns, aboard a naval ship that already has arrived in the British Virgin Islands. But that wasn't the case for the surrounding area or the rest of 30ha Necker Island, his property for four decades.

Among Branson's pictures posted on social media while riding out Hurricane Irma are his staff sleeping in makeshift beds. The doors and windows outside the wine cellar were blown 40 feet away, and "whole houses and trees have disappeared".

Writing on his blog ahead of the category 5 storm, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, Branson wrote: "We are expecting to get the full force of the hurricane in around five hours' time, when we will retreat to a concrete wine cellar under the Great House".

Branson is the 324th wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of about US$5 billion, according to Forbes, which notes that he bought Necker Island for US$180,000.

He made no mention of hangovers among the group however, having posted before the storm that "knowing our wonderful team as I do, I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge".



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