World Trump's Caribbean villa one of few to survive Irma

08:51  12 september  2017
08:51  12 september  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

Free walkie-talkie app tops App Store charts ahead of Hurricane Irma

  Free walkie-talkie app tops App Store charts ahead of Hurricane Irma With the Category 5 Hurricane Irma, now one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic, on its way toward the Caribbean and possibly the southeastern tip of the US, a little-known walkie-talkie app has shot to the top of Apple’s App Store. The free app, called Zello Walkie Talkie, lets your phone communicate as a two-way radio so long as you have a network or Wi-Fi connection. What makes it useful is that it allows immediate voice communication to others in a shared channel, as opposed to having to place a phone call and hope someone on the other end picks up.

Billionaire party enthusiast Richard Branson owns a private isle in the Virgin Islands and it sits squarely in the path of Hurricane Irma . He' s decided to ride out the storm in his Necker Island wine cellar. USA TODAY.

Whichever you choose, our Villa Specialists will help you find the luxury villa you need. Many Caribbean villa rentals include a staff of private chef, butler and maid to take care of your every need while you take work on your tan.

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President Trump's $17 million "chateau" on the Caribbean island of St. Martin survived Hurricane Irma nearly unscathed, unlike the rest of the French/Dutch island — and in contrast to the fate suffered by other celebrities' properties in the path of the monster storm still raging in Florida.

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Trump's Chateau des Palmiers, located on Plum Bay beach in a posh neighborhood of vacation villas on the French side of St. Martin, is still standing with hardly a single roof tile lost (although the landscaping is a mess), according to pictures sent to USA TODAY by Jack Fleishman, a Californian who co-owns the heavily damaged Villa Mille Fleurs just above Trump's place.

The rest of St. Martin was 95% destroyed after Irma hit the island on Sept. 6.

Million-dollar villas and hotels, middle-class homes and the ramshackle abodes of the poor and working-class residents suffered similar fates across the Caribbean from the power of a Category 5 storm: All were reduced to little more than kindling. At least nine people died on the French side.

Branson Survives Irma's Wrath by Riding Out Storm in Wine Cellar

  Branson Survives Irma's Wrath by Riding Out Storm in Wine Cellar Billionaire Richard Branson and his crew survived Hurricane Irma after hunkering down in the concrete wine cellar of his home on a private island in the Caribbean. “We’re grateful to report that our team on Island are safe,” the Virgin Limited Edition subsidiary that operates a collection of resorts said in a statement on its website. Necker Island “sustained extensive damage, the extent of which we are still assessing.

President Donald Trump (left), Hurricane Irma (right) (Photo credit: Shawn Thew/Pool via Bloomberg, Screengrab/Weather Channel). As Irma threatens to destroy every Caribbean island in its way as it heads towards Florida

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How Trump's sprawling beachside 11-bedroom estate, for sale at a reduced price of $16.9 million, managed to avoid damage when so many other estates nearby were seriously or catastrophically ruined, is still a puzzle, Fleishman told USA TODAY.

USA TODAY has reached out to the Trump Organization for comment.

Meanwhile, the fate of Trump's other major property in the path of Irma, his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort-turned-winter White House, remains up in the air.

But the expectation is that it, too, will suffer little damage, having survived multiple hurricanes in the 90 years since it was built on an island between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida's Intercoastal Waterway. Besides that, Irma veered more to the west as it moved up the Florida peninsula.

President Trump's $17 million Chateau des Palmiers on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin survived Hurricane Irma. © Jack Fleishman President Trump's $17 million Chateau des Palmiers on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin survived Hurricane Irma. The same can't be said about the Caribbean properties of other celebrities affected by Irma, though the status of some remains unknown.

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So far, there's no word on any damage to luxury homes owned by Gloria Estefan and Sean "Diddy" Combs on the star-studded Star Island, a man-made retreat off Miami Beach. Nor is it known how Johnny Depp's private Little Hall's Pond Cay or Eddie Murphy's private Rooster Cay in the Bahamas fared. Or Oprah Winfrey's Caribbean getaway mansions on Antigua and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

But some other celebrity owners of Caribbean islands and properties have gone public with their losses.

British billionaire Richard Branson of the Virgin empire posted pictures online of his private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which was almost totally destroyed by the hurricane while he and his staff rode out the storm in a concrete wine cellar.

"We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean," he wrote. "But we are very fortunate to have a strong cellar built into Necker’s Great House and were very lucky all of our teams who stayed on Island during the storm are safe and well."

Now he's raising money for a disaster recovery plan for the BVIs.

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Tiny Barbuda, one-half of the dual state of Antigua and Barbuda, was flattened by Irma. Most of the island's residents are homeless.

Robert De Niro, a co-owner of the Paradise Found Nobu resort under development on Barbuda, issued a statement to the New York Daily News saying he was "beyond saddened" by the Barbuda devastation and vowed to "rebuild what nature has taken away from us.”

Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing journalist/provocateur whose speeches roil campuses and whose remarks seeming to condone sex between men and boys forced him to resign from Breitbart, posted on his Facebook page Sunday that his house in the West Brickell area of Miami is "gone."

This post came after Yiannopoulos joked last week on Facebook about "positive Irma news" in describing how Branson’s Necker Island had been devastated. A representative for Yiannopoulos hasn't responded to USA TODAY's request for comment about his Miami house.

But good news: The historic Hemingway House museum on Key West survived with little damage, according to general manager Jacque Sands, who spoke to The Orlando Sentinel.

The personnel are safe, as are all 54 of Hemingway’s famous six-toed cats.

Hurricane Irma weather maps reveal creepy skull-like face .
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