During the mid to late morning hours of Wednesday 6 September 2017 killer hurricane Irma began her nefarious siege of the British Virgin Islands with torrential rain and winds of 185-200 miles per hour, as well as gusts exceeding 200 miles.
After four hours of merciless battering the sun shone again on Tortola for about thirty minutes, which confirmed that the islands were in the eye of the storm. After 1 pm the hurricane re-started from a different direction, as expected, and Irma completed her disgusting job; there are no official figures but there are unconfirmed reports of deaths. There are also a sizable number of people injured with mild to severe wounds, some requiring amputation. A 12 hours curfew is in effect from 6pm to 6 am; looting of shops and supermarkets and stealing from private properties has been brought under some control as both USA and Britain have sent armed forces. There are also unconfirmed reports about escapees from Balsam Ghut Prison.
All the larger islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada) are without electricity, water, internet and telephone for the past 7 days; most of the electricity poles are down or beyond repair; all the local radio stations are not working and the major one is said to have suffered damage. Hundreds or thousands are without a home or without a roof: public and privately owned buildings have suffered severe damage and one of the ferries has been catapulted by the winds on the side of the Road Town Jetty (see photos). Many vehicles are damaged and it is not easy to find petrol and diesel; the airport is closed or used only for emergencies. Peebles Hospital is filled to capacity and the top floors are used as shelter for the homeless. The Helipad of Peebles Hospital sees heavy traffic especially with USA and British helicopters (see photos). While the recovery has started, the emergency status remains and there is general consensus that it will be months before the situation begins to show some normality. In breaking news from the UK we have learned that a huge ship filled with building supplies and the Royal Engineers is on it was to the Caribbean.
There are also similar bad news from other islands in the Leewards group.