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Scale of destruction on Tortola in British Virgin Islands revealed

The extraordinary level of destruction on the British Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma has been documented by residents who stayed as their homes were battered.

The extraordinary level of destruction on the British Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma has been documented by residents who stayed put as their homes were battered. 

In one video - thought to be of the the east side of the island of Tortola - flattened buildings and piles of debris can be seen in every direction.

Nothing appears to have been spared on the island - with homes, trees and cars all damaged by the category 5 mega storm.

The video was also mentioned by Sam Branson, son of Virgin billionaire Richard, who is currently in the British Virgin Islands.

Desolation: One of the videos shows a blanket of debris on the island of Tortola. Right: A car left wrecked by the devastating hurricane

Destruction: A building can be seen with its roof almost completely torn off after the British Virgin Islands was battered by Hurricane Irma 

Tortola - the largest of the British Virgin Islands - was directly in the path of Hurricane Irma. It remains to be seen how much damage Hurricane Jose, which is following Irma, will unleash on the territory 

Catastrophe: In Everton Powell's 'traumatic' video, the remnants of houses can be seen lying next to uprooted trees in the streets of Tortola  

Uprooted: Trees have been enormously damaged in the monster storm. The above picture appears to show a bar on the island of Jost Van Dyke that has been devastated 

Boats piled up as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Tortola in British Virgin Islands on Wednesday

The full force of the hurricane has been unleashed on the British overseas territory. But some islanders have criticized the government's response 

He branded the footage 'traumatic' and reported that one person has died on Tortola while 'most buildings' were 'completely destroyed'. 

The obliteration of the UK overseas territory was 'beyond tragic', he wrote, adding: 'My deepest wishes go to all those affected.'

On the Facebook page 'BVI Abroad - Hurricane Irma', residents have been posting desperate appeals for the whereabouts of loved ones and pointing out videos of the catastrophe. 

In a 'heart wrenching' video uploaded by a woman left 'at a loss for words', buildings are shown torn up in Road Town, Tortola while trees and debris - including even boats - are strewn across the streets. 

One poster, Nicola Rawlings, has asked that 'nervous, worried energy' be turned into 'something positive' for the British Virgin Islands. 

She suggested people living off the islands could host an event to raise money for the territory, adding: 'It will help spread word of the devastation before the world moves on to the next problem'. 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over the British Virgin Islands with wind gust of up to 110 mph to the west at Buck Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Significant damage has been reported with critical facilities, homes, businesses and supermarkets destroyed.

Among the people hunkered down was Richard Branson, the head of the Virgin Group, whose home on Necker Island was destroyed. 

His son Sam took to Instagram to tell his followers that his father and his staff were 'OK' - but stressed there had been 'lots of damage' to Necker and said one person was dead on the island of Tortola.

He wrote: 'No cell, power of wifi coverage in VG [The British Virgin Islands]', adding that the islands' capital Road Town is 'flooded with many roofs ripped off'.   

US president Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in the US Virgin Islands. 

'Privilege': Branson said his whole staff slept together in two rooms, but the Virgin boss was happy to weather 'possibly the strongest storm ever' with a 'great group of young people'

It comes amid criticism of the government's response to the carnage unleashed on British overseas territories in the Caribbean.

Josephine Gumbs-Connor, who is a lawyer on British-owned Anguilla, told BBC Radio 4 earlier today that the response from the UK has been 'sorely lacking'.

She said Anguilla is 'utterly devastated' and has been left 'in absolute pieces'. 

Gumbs-Connor explained: 'We are very familiar with hurricanes, but this particular one, Hurricane Irma, was off the charts in terms of strength. It has certainly cut a swathe through Anguilla that has left us in absolute pieces.'

She added: 'Our police service has suffered roof damage, so has our court house, so has our prisons, so has the hospital. Just in terms of essential services alone we are clearly in limping position.

'When you look at our island at the moment you would think that it just suffered nuclear bomb devastation.'

Discussing the British response, she said: 'While we understand that these things take time, I personally am very disappointed. We are supposed to be the same status as Gibraltar or the Falkland Island.

'I’m am truly disappointed. If we are indeed supposed to be in a partnership then it should work far more effectively than it is doing now.'

Commenting on the Hurricane yesterday, international development secretary Priti Patel said Britain has taken 'swift action' to respond to the crisis. 

She added: 'We have deployed three UK aid humanitarian experts to the region to help coordinate the response, and positioned a British naval ship with 40 Royal Marines, Army Engineers, and vehicles, tents and facilities to purify water on board. 

'Our staff are on standby, both in the UK and at post, to support any British people affected. We urge British Nationals in the affected area to closely monitor and follow Foreign Office and local travel advice.' 

The director of the BVI London Office, Benito Wheatley, said the full extent of the damage to the islands remains unknown but said they have been 'severely impacted'. 

He added: '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.' 

Mr Wheatley also said he spoke with Premier Orlando Smith, who explained the Government has begun to undertake relief efforts and a clean-up operation.

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