Hurricane Irma Update: Sept 13
Unfortunately, there is little good news to report from Tortola. There are still almost 4000 people reported missing. The hope is that the people are there and have survived, but just don't have a way of communicating. Reinforcements have arrived - the basics, water etc. but still, people are desperately trying to get off the island. Communications are difficult, power is out and water isn't running on much of the island. This means sanitation levels are not good. Meanwhile, flights in and out of Tortola's Beef Island Airport are few and still restrained to emergency/relief flights. The ferries that weren't wrecked in the storm aren't much help because they don't have anywhere to travel to - the situation on St. Thomas is just as dire.
We've seen a note by a person on the BVI Abroad Facebook Group that states that winds during the eyewall were sustained at 185 MPH with gusts up to 220. To compare, Irma's winds at landfall in Florida were 120 with gusts to 150. Crazy.
Roads are mostly passable. In the photos and videos we've watched, there are cars driving along Sir Francis Drake Highway. Road Town looks to be in worse shape than we originally thought in our earlier report. There's an excellent but disturbing youtube drone video of the damage here.
Thankfully, cruise ships are due to land in both Tortola and St. Thomas to attempt to take Irma victims to the US (news about this, here) while bringing in emergency relief. Also, Puerto Rico has been spared by Irma and can act as a safe location for the Caribbean islands hit by Irma.
Meanwhile, Richard Branson is working on a solution to help restore the Virgin Islands. The story about this effort is here. Richard has also setup a new relief organization where 100% of the donations go to support the BVIs. It's part of Virgin Unite - link here. For September we'll be donating all of our ad revenue to Virgin Unite.
If you are wondering about the status of the vacation resorts, we have started to make calls around. Many are in bad shape. We did speak to the folks on Peter Island who said that while damage is severe and they are closed at the moment, they believe they will be back functioning in the near future.
We'll end this report with some photos of the destruction. Click here for the earlier report.
Irma's destruction on Tortola's Long Bay
Cars flipped in Road Town
Jost Van Dyke's Foxy's Bar - not destroyed but in bad shape.