British Billionaire Branson Calls for 'Marshall Plan' After Irma Ravages Caribbean
- Author: Zachary Reyes Sep 14, 2017,
Sep 14, 2017, 14:11
Billionaire mogul Richard Branson has spoken of enjoying a "more positive day" on the British Virgin Islands as more aid arrives after the devastating Hurricane Irma smashed into the Caribbean territory.
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He promised to rebuild St. Martin as a "model island" that would be a "showcase of French excellence" and to take steps to diversify its economy so it's less reliant on tourism.
Thousands have seen their homes destroyed; thousands more have been left without power. He said he is now coordinating recovery efforts through government agencies, aid organizations and media to help the islands in the region.
Mr Johnson will be visiting both Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, visiting officials leading the recovery effort and experiencing the devastation of the worst-hit areas first-hand. More than 30 people are known to have died in the Caribbean. 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 (the) island during the storm are safe and well.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (C) with British troops ahead of a visit to hurricane-torn Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.
At least 27 people have been killed since Irma began its march through the Caribbean, smashing through a string of islands from tiny Barbuda on Wednesday, to the tropical paradises of St. Barts and St. Martin, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander has already arrived in Curacao where he visited injured evacuees, and is scheduled to visit St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba on Monday, Karel van Oosterom, the Dutch permanent representative to the United Nations, said in a tweet.
Speaking on CNN, Stacey Plaskett, delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for the U.S. Virgin Islands, said there was no real looting occurring, but rather desperate people scrambling for scarce supplies. "I never want to go through something like this again".
"We are encouraging all our members and Christian minded persons to respond in loving service in any way possible to help our brothers and sisters in need".
Some of the tourism-dependent islands, after days without electricity and with food and water supplies, have drifted close to lawlessness.