Horsham man helps rescue effort in aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Damaged homes in Tortola, hit by Hurricane Irma, in the British Virgin Islands SUS-171209-121152001
Damaged homes in Tortola, hit by Hurricane Irma, in the British Virgin Islands SUS-171209-121152001

A man from Horsham is among a British disaster response team currently in the British Virgin Islands helping to cope with the apocalyptic aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Tom Thales is with a response team known as Serve On which has joined forces with Team Rubicon UK and the Royal Air Force in a bid to help islanders, thousands of whom have been left trapped with their homes destroyed.

A senior British Virgin Islands government official called on the expertise of the Serve On volunteer team but the group was initially hampered from reaching the disaster zone after Hurricane Jose threatened to follow Hurricane Irma’s path.

The team were stranded in Barbados overnight on Friday - but were able to help the British Virgin Islands’ governor’s permanent secretary David Archer to return to the islands’ main island, Tortola.

He had been stranded away from Tortola when Irma struck and his own home was one of the many severely damaged by the hurricane.

Serve On is now helping to deliver fresh drinking water to support the rescue effort, along with technical search and flood rescue and making sure the right aid goes to the right areas.

The 60 British Virgin Islands suffered catastrophic damage when they found themselves in the direct path of Hurricane Irma and its 185mph winds which caused a 30ft storm surge flooding hundreds of properties near the coast. Inland whole communities were laid waste by the storm.

A Serve On spokesman said that the public’s help was needed to carry on its day-to-day work in disaster-hit communites.

“Please give what help you can. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.”

See https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081