Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Hurricane Irma: Boris Johnson to fly to Caribbean to survey aid effort

Hurricane Irma: Boris Johnson to fly to Caribbean to survey aid effort

Asked why the United Kingdom had not airlifted its citizens out of the area before the hurricane struck, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are talking about a huge number of British citizens who are in the path of this hurricane, and we are doing everything we can to help them". Dutch and French authorities are sending personnel and aid to their overseas territories, such as Saint Martin.

One British family told how they sheltered in a wardrobe as Irma hit their home in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands as a category five storm.

The storm was passing north of the Leeward Islands at 2 p.m. ET Saturday, the hurricane center said, and was moving northwest at 13 miles per hour.

Still, in listing her fears, Smith said this teamwork won't be enough on its own.

The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands were all pummelled by the hurricane last week, leaving thousands without electricity or water and reducing homes to splinters.

"I was privileged to have the option to leave and there are many who are not able to get out".

The islands caught a break when Hurricane Jose, which had been bearing down in Irma's wake, altered course, sparing them from a powerful follow-up storm.

"Now time is of the essence".

She said she's glued to Facebook, scrolling through her feed and hoping to hear good news for her friends.

In his latest video update, he said: "I've been getting some updates on the ground out there on the British Virgin Islands and it's really sad to say that there is a lot of civil unrest".

British troops and police were deployed over the weekend to the region to restore law and order after reports of looting, he said.

"Necker damage huge, but BVI #Irma story is not about Necker - about 1000s of people who've lost homes & livelihoods", Branson said on Twitter. Rivers in the mountainous region were flooding Saturday afternoon, and levels still were expected to rise, the governor said.

Communications were down across much of the BVI from Wednesday and there is now some patchy phone and internet function. The facility had been without power for days, he said.

As part of Operation Ruman, the government has formed a taskforce made up of troops, ships and aid to help those caught up in Hurricane Irma which has so far claimed dozens of lives.

"There is debris all over the island".

"I'm feeling emotional about it", Lyons said.

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