"The region needs a 'Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan' for the [British Virgin Islands] and other territories that will aid in recovery, sustainable reconstruction and long-term revitalization of the local economy," Branson wrote Sunday on his blog, referencing the Marshall Plan that was enacted to help European nations recover after World War II. "This will have to include building resilience against what is likely to be a higher intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, as the effects of climate change continue to grow."
Branson, who lives on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which were devastated by Irma, rode out the storm in his wine cellar. He said he is now coordinating recovery efforts through government agencies, aid organizations and media to help the islands in the region.
But Branson said there needs to be a more mobilized effort to deal with the aftermath of hurricanes. Since the storm passed through the region, killing 24 people in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Barts and the U.S. Virgin Islands, there have been reports of rising crime due to the lack of infrastructure.
"In my home at night, we are locked in like a bunker," said Conn Davis, a British Virgin Islands resident, told NBC News. "Last night I had people in my garage with flashlights looking around. I'm armed 24/7 with an assault weapon and handgun."
Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged. But British Virgin Islands Hurricane #Irma story is not about Necker - it is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. @virginunite is coordinating aid to local BVI families & communities affected - please donate to help http://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal