Press release

One month on from Hurricane Irma

International Development Secretary comments on the recovery progress made since Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean on 7 September 2017.

Priti Patel pictured on a visit to the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. Picture: Crown copyright
Priti Patel pictured on a visit to the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. Picture: Crown copyright

Commenting on progress made since Hurricane Irma struck islands across the Caribbean including Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands on 7 September 2017, International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

It was heart breaking to see the full extent of the devastation caused by the hurricanes; many homes were completely destroyed and families’ lives were torn apart.

As soon as the hurricanes hit, the UK responded by leading the relief effort and making sure emergency supplies went to those who were worst-hit.

We are already seeing signs of daily life getting back to normal - schools are re-opening, local economies are back up and running and the debris and wreckage is being cleared.

Our UK task force is now working with the governments of the Overseas Territories to help them get on with the vital reconstruction work and to make sure the islands are built back more resiliently than in the past, so a future hurricane won’t be as devastating.

Notes to editors

  • Signs of early recovery are emerging as the islands prepare to get back up and running.
  • The governments of the Overseas Territories are leading the recovery plans for the islands and a taskforce from the UK is working alongside them to assess immediate and early recovery needs and priorities.
  • Anguilla is getting back to business and the UK has played an important role in supporting that process. DFID-supplied timber, corrugated iron and plywood helped schools to re-open on the island this week. The local economy is starting up again with most businesses back up and running. Banks are accessible, supermarkets are receiving stocks and hotels and restaurants are preparing for the upcoming tourism peak
  • In Turks and Caicos debris has been cleared from neighbourhoods and airports repairs have been carried out. Repairs have been carried out on the hospital in Grand Turk. The temporary flat pack schools in South Caicos now have electricity and water.
  • In the British Virgin Islands, 16 schools have re-opened and the airport has reopened to commercial flights. 60-80% of homes were damaged or destroyed and poorer communities were hit hardest. UK military along with UK Aid cleared the wreckage of homes and provided shelters. The airport has reopened to commercial flights
  • Even though the hurricanes have gone, we will be dealing with the trail of destruction for the next few weeks, months and years. That is why we have pledged £62 million to the recovery efforts following both Hurricane Maria and Irma.
  • 100% of all DFID procured aid has been delivered to the region.

DFID Response Overview

  • 2896 shelter kits, 4990 solar lanterns and 10,000 buckets are already in the region, as well as additional supplies from HMS Ocean

British Virgin Islands: UK aid

43 RAF transport flights, more than four tonnes of food and water and more than 816 shelter kits, as well as radios, debris clearing equipment, building materials, generators and communications equipment.

Turks and Caicos Islands UK aid

0.8 tonnes of bottled water, 922 Shelter Kits,170 plastic sheets, four flat-pack schools, debris clearing equipment, building materials, generators, communications equipment, solar lantern, fuel and forklifts.

Anguilla: UK aid

6.8 tonnes of food and water,18 tonnes of lumber, 1,000 Sheets corrugated iron, shelter kits, 15 Generators, debris clearing equipment, communications equipment, solar lanterns, 100 metres of electric cable and 500 hygiene packs.


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Published 6 October 2017