According to a statement issued by the Caribbean Tourism Organization on Thursday, Hurricane Irma hit the British Virgin Islands directly on Wednesday and the full extent of the damage is still unknown at this time, but “it is clear the islands have been severely impacted.”
In fact, Billionaire Richard Branson said on Twitter earlier today that Hurricane Irma has “completely devastated” his home on Necker Island.
At present most communications remain down, including mobile phone service and Internet access. For the time being, this will make it difficult for those trying to reach the territory in order to connect with family and friends, according to the CTO.
The government has begun to coordinate humanitarian relief efforts and an initial clean-up operation. The BVI London and New York offices will remain in contact with the Government to receive information as it becomes available, according to the CTO.
According to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), all hurricane warnings have now been discontinued for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Maarten/St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As of Thursday morning, Irma was moving west-northwest off the northern coast of Hispaniola, heading for the Turks and Caicos Islands. A hurricane warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas, according to the National Hurricane Center.