British FM Johnson flying to Caribbean after criticism of Irma aid

Gwen Vasquez
September 13, 2017

September 13, 2017: Virgin Group Founder and long-time British Virgin Islands resident, Richard Branson, whose Necker Island was devastated following Irma offered a glimpse Tuesday at some of the damage across the BVI.

The Foreign Secretary also announced that the British military presence is "really ratcheting up" in the Caribbean, as more troops being sent to help communities devastated by Hurricane Irma. The authorities had previously reported one person killed in Anguilla.

She said it was "alarming" that nearly a week had passed since the hurricane and Sir Alan was "still talking about the potential evacuation of British citizens". Others said Dutch and French governments, who also have Caribbean territories, prepared more adequately for the storm.

"The government of Anguilla is in charge but I think what people need to understand, there are some things we can do collectively, working in partnership, to help the economy of these islands and we need to think about that and that's something we are certainly going to take back to London".

Hundreds of United Kingdom troops and 50 police officers have been sent to the British Virgin Islands, where around 100 "very serious" prisoners escaped from jail after the hurricane.

His comments came after a prison on Tortola - the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean - had reportedly been blown open after the storm.

The Royal Navy's fleet flagship has set sail for the Caribbean loaded with long-term emergency supplies for British territories devastated by the storm.

Navy personnel distributing supplies in Saint Martin
Navy personnel distributing supplies in Saint Martin

British Virgin Islands was hit hard by Hurricane Irma.

It was "a slap in the face" to look across the waters to "our French brothers and sisters" where the response from President Macron had been very different, she said.

"They were already seized with the knowledge of where might be the vulnerable areas", she added.

In the British Virgin Islands, communications are mostly still down and its premier, Orlando Smith, has called for a "comprehensive economic package for reconstruction" from the UK.

"We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean".

Most of the state is without power, curtailing travel in and out.

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