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Boris Johnson welcomes extra funding to help Irma relief operations

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has welcomed the commitment of an extra £25 million to help British Overseas Territories affected by Hurricane Irma, branding it "great news".

Undertaking a visit of Anguilla, where he saw first hand the damage caused to the island, when pressed for his impressions of what he had seen, Mr Johnson said: "You can't be but affected by the scale of devastation the people of Anguilla have endured."

Before heading to the British Virgin Islands, Mr Johnson visited Anguilla's Princess Alexandra Hospital, which suffered 60% damage as Hurricane Irma unleashed devastation, something he said was "pitiful" to witness.

Welcoming the announcement of an extra cash injection to immediately help British Overseas Territories battered by the storm, he told the Press Association: "It is great news another £25 million has been announced, that will help us get through this emergency period.

"But there are things we are going to have to do in the long term to make this island more economically self-sufficient and even more resilient, and we will certainly be thinking about that."

Whilst at the hospital, Mr Johnson could be heard saying "wow this is going to be a big, big job", and on seeing water damaged rooms - many with missing roofs, said "we need to put the pedal to the metal" to get things running fully again.

As Royal Marines and Royal Engineers arrived at the hospital to help with repairs, Mr Johnson said to them: "They need you badly in there."

He told the Press Association: "I am very pleased that since very early on, since Friday, we have had troops here and they helped to get things going. And here they are coming in again today to help to rebuild, this is going to be a big job."

During his Anguilla visit, he also toured the police headquarters, where despite losing 90% of its roof and having to deal with rain water flooding the building and cells, it remained fully operational throughout the hurricane.

With the clean up and repairs well under way at the station, he could be heard telling one of the officers they were doing a "great job" as he was shown the damage by the Police Commissioner Paul Morrison.

The Foreign Secretary then looked around the Anguilla Red Cross relief centre - inspecting the piles of bottled water, tinned food, UK Aid tarpaulins and toiletries.

He will be visiting the British Virgin Islands later today.

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