Hurricane Irma: UK Government to send more support amid criticism they were too slow to act

Despite sending a military task group and already committing £32m to the relief fund, the UK Government is to send more support after facing criticism from senior MPs and residents of the Caribbean islands criticised the UK government’s “too slow” response.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said “further support” for British overseas territories hit by Hurricane Irma would be announced within days and that only £4m remained of a £32m relief fund.

Some 500 UK troops have been sent to Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and British Virgin Islands (BVI), amid reports of looting in some areas.

Mr Johnson told Today that the relief fund was “already being deployed”.

He said: “You can see an unprecedented British effort to deal with what has been an unprecedented catastrophe for the region.

“Of the £32m we’ve earmarked, £28m has already been spent and we will be announcing further support later on, in the course of the next few days.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the British government “should have acted much faster”, while those with relatives in hurricane-hit areas have said they are lacking support.

richard branson
After the storm, Richard reviews the damage. Credit: Richard Branson. 

Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson has said most of the buildings and vegetation on Necker, which is among the 50 British Virgin Islands, had been destroyed or badly damaged by Hurricane Irma.

“We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean. But we are very fortunate to have a strong cellar built into Necker’s Great House.”

This evening following the latest COBR meeting, Boris Johnson gave an update on government support for the UK Overseas Territories after Hurricane Irma.


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