Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has welcomed the commitment of an extra £25 million to help British Overseas Territories affected by Hurricane Irma, branding it ‘great news’.
Undertaking a visit of Anguilla, where he saw first hand the damage caused to the island, Boris said: ‘You can’t be but affected by the scale of devastation the people of Anguilla have endured.’
Before heading to the British Virgin Islands, he visited Anguilla’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, which suffered 60 per cent damage as Hurricane Irma unleashed devastation, something he said was ‘pitiful’ to witness.
Welcoming the announcement of an extra cash injection to immediately help British Overseas Territories battered by the storm, he said: ‘It is great news another £25 million has been announced, that will help us get through this emergency period.
Undertaking a visit of Anguilla, where he saw first hand the damage caused to the island, Boris said: ‘You can’t be but affected by the scale of devastation the people of Anguilla have endured’
During his Anguilla visit, he also toured the police headquarters, where despite losing 90 per cent of its roof and having to deal with rainwater flooding the building and cells, it remained fully operational throughout the hurricane
The foreign secretary helped a local cut down a tree outside Anguilla hospital after it was battered by Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma left Anguilla devastated, with swathes of the island left uninhabitable
‘But there are things we are going to have to do in the long-term to make this island more economically self-sufficient and even more resilient, and we will certainly be thinking about that.’
Whilst at the hospital, Boris could be heard saying ‘Wow, this is going to be a big, big job’, and on seeing water damaged rooms – many with missing roofs, said: ‘We need to put the pedal to the metal’ to get things running fully again.
As Royal Marines and Royal Engineers arrived at the hospital to help with repairs, Mr Johnson said to them: ‘They need you badly in there.’
As Royal Marines and Royal Engineers arrived at the hospital to help with repairs, Mr Johnson said to them: ‘They need you badly in there’
The Foreign Secretary meeting locals in Anguilla after Irma hit the islands of the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla
Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Britain is sending an extra £25million to help the Caribbean recover from Hurricane Irma earlier today
Boris will be heading to the British Virgin Islands later today. Here he is pictured with a local on Anguilla
At least 50 people were killed by the devastating hurricane, with the islands of Barbuda and St Martin among the hardest hit. Pictured: The foreign secretary on Anguilla
The Foreign Secretary also looked around the Anguilla Red Cross relief centre – inspecting the piles of bottled water, tinned food, UK Aid tarpaulins and toiletries
He said: ‘I am very pleased that since very early on, since Friday, we have had troops here and they helped to get things going. And here they are coming in again today to help to rebuild, this is going to be a big job.’
During his Anguilla visit, he also toured the police headquarters, where despite losing 90 per cent of its roof and having to deal with rainwater flooding the building and cells, it remained fully operational throughout the hurricane.
With the clean up and repairs well under way at the station, he could be heard telling one of the officers they were doing a ‘great job’ as he was shown the damage by the Police Commissioner Paul Morrison.
The Foreign Secretary then looked around the Anguilla Red Cross relief centre – inspecting the piles of bottled water, tinned food, UK Aid tarpaulins and toiletries.
He will be visiting the British Virgin Islands later today.
Britain is sending an extra £25million to help the Caribbean recover from Hurricane Irma, Theresa May (pictured at PMQs today) has announced
Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Britain is sending an extra £25million to help the Caribbean recover from Hurricane Irma earlier today.
She said the extra aid was on top of £32million pledged last week.
The PM said: ‘Since Thursday COBR has met regularly (on) bringing together military aid and consular effort.
‘And today I’m announcing an additional £25million to support the recovery effort, further to the £32million I announced last week.’
In his first interview since it was revealed he would be travelling to the region, Mr Johnson said his visit is a ‘very important statement’ by the Government to show it is ‘here for UK nationals’ and is a ‘sign of our absolute commitment to them’.
He landed in Barbados before arriving in Anguilla and then heading to the British Virgin Islands, where five people were killed by the storm.
At least 50 people were killed by the devastating hurricane, with the islands of Barbuda and St Martin among the hardest hit.
Boris Johnson landed in Barbados before he sets off for the British Virgin Islands, where five people were killed by the storm
At least 50 people were killed by the devastating Hurricane Irma, with the islands of Barbuda and St Martin among the hardest hit
Boris pictured on a loaded RAF Plane A400M en route to Anguilla
The foreign secretary said: ‘Yesterday there were about 700 troops in the region that has now gone up to 1,000. It will go up to 1,250 in the course of the next few days’
In his first interview since it was revealed he would be travelling to the region, Boris Johnson said his visit is a ‘very important statement’ by the Government to show it is ‘here for UK nationals’ and is a ‘sign of our absolute commitment to them’
Speaking to the Press Association on board a Virgin Atlantic flight as he headed towards the British territories ravaged by the storm, Mr Johnson said: ‘The military presence is really ratcheting up now.
‘Yesterday there were about 700 troops in the region that has now gone up to 1,000. It will go up to 1,250 in the course of the next few days.’
Hundreds of UK troops and 50 police officers have already been sent to the British Virgin Islands after they were battered by the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
Images, provided by the NASA Earth Observatory, shows Caribbean islands looking a vibrant green (top), while a second – captured after the hurricane (bottom) – shows the territory is coloured brown. The islands, from left, are St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola and Virgin Gorda
Mass evacuations are gathering pace from islands hit by Hurricane Irma. Residents and tourists trapped on St Martin broke down in tears as they prepared to board planes to leave the island
Royal Marines from from 59 Commando Squadron have been tasked with helping to clean up Tortola in the British Virgin Islands after the area was destroyed by Hurricane Irma
Wasteland: Debris lies strewn across a beach as a group of people inspect the damage caused by Irma on the island of St Martin
Devon-based 59 Commando Squadron from 24 Commando Royal Engineers deliver aid to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Specialist army engineers have restored power, running water, runway lighting and are repairing the perimeter fence at Terrance B, Lettsome International Airport on the island of Tortola
Destruction: This was the scene of devastation that greeted Royal Marines as they arrived at Jost Van Dyk in the British Virgin Islands
Damage: Trees were shredded or torn out of the ground and houses left in ruins on St Martin as Hurricane Irma struck
A tangled ship’s mast rests on the dock in Philipsburg, on the Dutch side of St Martin as residents come to terms with the destruction
Response: Members of the New York Air National Guard help a wheelchair-bound pensioner on to a plane at St Martin ahead of a flight to Puerto Rico
Wreckage: Luxury beach-front hotels and villas on the holiday island of St Marting were ravaged by the force of Hurricane Irma
Hundreds of holidaymakers are still trying to leave St Martin, with dozens lining up outside the Princess Juliana Airport, which was left in ruins in the storm. People are pictured lining up to board a plane at the terminal
Damage is seen next to Cuban flags that were hung up to dry after Hurricane Irma caused flooding and a blackout, in Havana, Cuba
British tourists Terry Gill and Karyl Wood walk in the garden of a hotel amid fallen palm trees a day after the passage of Hurricane Irma in Varadero, Cuba
Villages on Providenciales (pictured) in the Turks and Caicos islands were devastated by the force to Hurricane Irma
France’s President Emmanuel Macron addresses the media on his arrival in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe island today, the first step of his visit to French Caribbean islands
France, Britain and the Netherlands have all sent extra security resources to the Caribbean. French troops are pictured securing the entrance to St Martin’s airport
Dramatic aerial pictures show scenes of devastation on a Caribbean island after it was ravaged by the most powerful hurricane the Atlantic has ever seen. At a port area, shipping containers were strewn like children’s building blocks (pictured)
There were warning that tourists from Britain and other countries are still trapped on St Martin and in dire need of help after the storm struck last week
A man looks what is left of his home in Cake Bay, Saint Maarten
Apocalyptic: Devastation on St Martin
A woman walks along damaged Grande Case, Saint Maarten days after this Caribbean island sustained extensive damage after the passing of Hurricane Irma
View of destruction in Grande Case, Saint Maarten days after the savage storm
Recovery and aid efforts are under way to help those trying to piece together their lives from the ruins of the weather front, which has since been downgraded from a hurricane.
During his short visit to Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, Mr Johnson will meet governors and other officials leading the recovery work, and will see first hand some of the most hard-hit places.
The Government had faced claims that the UK had done less to evacuate its citizens than other nations and did not have the correct equipment in place to deal with the catastrophe in the Caribbean.
Mr Johnson said the hurricane has been ‘an unprecedented event, an unprecedented catastrophe’ for the people who live in the part of the Caribbean which has been worst hit.
‘What they’re seeing is an unprecedented UK response, but I want to stress it is not just for the short term, we are going to be there for the long term as well,’ he added.
When asked what he hopes to gain from the trip, he said it is ‘very, very important people at home understand the savagery of the storm that has hit communities that are British’
His arrival comes amid news that prisoners escaped from their jail on the British Virgin Islands amid reports of looting
Sam Branson, the son of Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, whose luxury resort in the British Virgin Islands was destroyed in the storm, warned of ‘civil unrest’ and said prisoners had escaped
Pressed on how he thinks he will be received during the visit by those affected, Mr Johnson said: ‘Most fair-minded people have said that the UK responded extremely fast and extremely well.
‘We had RFA Mounts Bay in position in the region before the hurricane struck – it would have been totally absurd to bring troops in or bring heavy aircraft during the storm itself.’
When asked what he hopes to gain from the trip, he said it is ‘very, very important people at home understand the savagery of the storm that has hit communities that are British’.
‘But I think what I have been amazed by so far, is not so much the impact of the storm, as the resilience and community spirit of those people – coming together to put their islands back on their feet and we are here to help,’ he added.
Hurricane Irma survivor and photographer Hubert Haciski who is on the island of Tortola on the British Virgin Islands took these photos of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma
Luxury yachts are still piled on top of each other in marinas in Road Town, on Tortola – part of the British Virgin Islands. There have been reports of looting in the area
Hubert sheltered in the toilets of a hotel in capital Road Town when Irma struck and helped rescue guests trapped in their rooms. His photos show boats smashed to pieces and turned upside down in Road Town port, upended trees and power lines and destroyed buildings on the island
Ruins: The scale of the hurricane’s power can be seen in this aerial picture of a town in the British Virgin Islands
Royal Marines from Alpha Company, 40 Commando, have arrived to deliver aid and provide support to the islanders of Jost Van Dkye in the British Virgin Islands
His arrival comes amid news that prisoners escaped from their jail on the British Virgin Islands amid reports of looting.
There were widespread reports of looting on one of the islands, Tortola, after inmates broke out of a jail amid chaos during the 185mph storm.
Photos of a British Cabinet Briefing paper have now revealed that officials are attempting to ‘secure the transfer of the prisoners’ to the island of St Lucia.
Lourdes Rivera loads buckets to collect water in front of her house that was destroyed by Hurricane Irma, in Isabela de Sagua, Cuba
French police are pictured chasing looters in St Martin amid reports a gang of 600 thieves are terrorising islanders
Members of the New York Air National Guard help evacuees as they prepare to leave St. Maarten for the safety of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Aftermath: Luxury yachts lie stacked up on top of each other in marinas on the island of St Martin in the wake of the hurricane
Devastation: Pictures show the remains of a building destroyed in Grand-Case, on the French Caribbean island of St Martin
Waiting game: Residents use umbrellas and bags to shelter from the sun as they queue up to collect supplies on the island of St Martin
Aerial photographs show how entire communities were destroyed by the power of the 185mph winds that ripped across St Martin
Exhausted holidaymakers, carrying their suitcases on their laps, are pictured on a flight away from the hurricane-hit island of St Martin last night
Aid: British soldiers pack up HMS Ocean with much-needed supplies in Gibraltar as the rescue effort for the Caribbean continues
Experts are still surveying the damage caused on St Martin. This was the scene at one island resort where a car ended up on the beach
Debris lies strewn across a beach on the holiday island of St Martin. The Dutch and French governments are sending troops to the island to help with the clean-up operation
Paradise lost: Once palm-fringed beaches on St Martin now look more like a warzones in the wake of the hurricane
A despondent Mariela Leon sits in front of her flood-damaged home after Hurricane Irma ravaged the community of Isabela de Sagua in Cuba
Hundreds of people across an island shared by Dutch St. Martin and French St. Martin are trying to rebuild the lives they had before Hurricane Irma hit
Cuban state media reported 10 deaths despite the country’s usually rigorous disaster preparations. More than 1 million were evacuated from flood-prone areas. An abandoned doll is pictured in Isabela de Sagua in Cuba
Meanwhile, British junior foreign minister Alan Duncan told parliament: ‘We had a serious threat of a complete breakdown of law and order in the British Virgin islands (BVI). The prison was breached, over 100 very serious prisoners escaped.’
The minister also raised the death toll in British Caribbean territories to nine. Five people died in the BVI and four in Anguilla. The authorities had previously reported one person killed in Anguilla.
Sam Branson, the son of Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, whose luxury resort in the British Virgin Islands was destroyed in the storm, warned of ‘civil unrest’ and said prisoners had escaped.