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DDM assessing BVI readiness for next hurricane season

Sam’s Inn on Virgin Gorda is among several properties still in need of repairs after hurricanes. (Photo Credit: BVI News)

The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is assessing the readiness of the British Virgin Islands ahead of the 2018 hurricane season and will produce a Readiness Report before the end of the month.

The DDM is drafting the report based on orders from the Cabinet, which is the executive branch of local government.

A media release from the DDM today said government has initiated a plan to get the territory ready for the upcoming hurricane season, which officially starts on June 1.

“Cabinet is desirous of ensuring that we make preparations to initiate an effective response, should we be impacted again this year.  The Readiness Report is expected to be laid before Cabinet on February 21, 2018,” said DDM Director, Sharleen DaBreo.

Hurricane preparation

As for the progress of hurricane preparation so far, DaBreo said repairs have started on ‘critical facilities’ such as homes for the elderly and clinics on the islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda. She said repairs will continue on other islands ‘shortly’.

DaBreo said the DDM has also commenced ‘detailed inspections’ on emergency shelters that were designated last year.

“We are also looking at other facilities that were used during the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Public Works Department and the Environmental Health Unit are fully engaged in this process.  We are aiming to have a new list of emergency shelters available for release prior to the first of June 2018.”

Early preparedness campaign

Coupled with those initiatives, the DDM has launched an early preparedness campaign under the theme ‘Get Ready, Stay Ready’.

The campaign provides readiness tips on local radio and online.

Residents are being told to use the off-season to get their homes and businesses repaired.

Meanwhile, Chief Planner Greg Adams is urging residents to use advice from the Town and Country Planning Department and the Building Authority when repairing homes.

Examine and reinforce

He also encouraged residents to thoroughly inspect roofs that remained intact after last year’s hurricanes.

“The intensity of the winds was well beyond what many structures are designed to withstand and so those buildings that remained in place should be closely examined and reinforced. Those being repaired should ensure that proper methods are used for connecting the various building components.”

Adams also encouraged persons to secure windows with hurricane shutters.

“It is important when purchasing hurricane shutters that you examine the pros and cons of each and ensure that they are suitable for the window size and the location of your structures.  Remember, now is the time to begin clearing around your property,” he said.

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6 Comments

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  1. Talk says:

    set of jokers.

  2. ohhoo says:

    DDM let me save you time and money…. We are not ready. not even close.

  3. Hypocritical says:

    I can’t help but read this and feel angry. You encourage people to build and prepare, to clear properties, to rebuild stronger. Yet the very goods required to rebuild are held up at the ports for eons. Every day evidence of bandaged solutions are sighted all over the islands. Opportunities to clear rubbish from the hillsides was foregone. Face the reality. Help was provided from the UK etc and someone made the too proud and too independent decision to send much needed recovery assistance home far, far too early. Someone also failed in getting resources and organisational software to the ports to help get shipped goods moved out to the owners. Someone also failed in clearing the way to allow volunteers to help clear and rebuild the island. What the heck is wrong with the decision makers? Stop being proud, blind and naive! If and when the next category 5 (or stronger) hits the BVI, the country is not going to fair as well as when Irma went through. The country has strong people but the infrastructure is compromised. More people will be hurt the next time round and it is the complete lack of ability to come together, put solutions in place and take care of business properly. This is not the time to take the leisurely and offhanded approach. Change needs to be done asap. You told the group of people that could have helped the country clean up the rubbish and repair and build strong structures to leave! No one can rebuild with supplies stuck in storage crates and with exorbitant shipping costs to boot!!! People need help. Honestly get off your high horses and talking big dreams. Walk the talk! Do something! Without strong structures and with garbage from Irma littering the islands it is a recipe for disaster! You think Irma was bad!? My God, all I can say is the next super hurricane on a path to the BVI is going to see people scrambling to the ports to escape. Do something!!!!!!!

    • watcher says:

      And now you will find that people who cannot get their goods out of the port for months are being charged “ wharfage” , that is a charge by the port for storing them. You couldn’t make up what goes on in BVI.

  4. Diplomat says:

    By its geographic location, the VI archipelago is highly proned to tropical weather systems, eg, depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes………..etc. Hurricanes are destructive, devasting and damaging forces that as demonstrated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria can severely ravage properties and injure prople physically/mentally and result in loss of life. Hurricanes can quickly change life and circumstances. They can adversely affect the economy, employment, housing, businesses, public facilities……….etc. Nonetheless, timely and proper preparation can prevent or minimize the damages/impact caused by hurricanes.

    National disaster planning, preparedness and management is key to mitigating the devasting effects of hurricanes. Preparedness and management should entail planning for a)response, b)recovery, c) mitigation, d)planning and e) preparedness. Further, pre-disaster mitigation is a critical process in disaster planning and preparedness. Response teams should be put together, resourced, trained/trained, sheltered and ready to roll after the event passed. The passage of Irma and Maria exposed this as a weakness. It is if we were caught napping; this is not a slam on anyone; just keeping it real.

    Government needs disaster planning and management and so too does individuals. What can individuals do? They can and should develop a family plan, a communication plan, packaged and secure important documents, and procure critical medications. Additionally, they should collect and secure loose items from out doors to keep them from becoming flying missiles, board up/shutter/ closed all windows and doors (leaving a window open to supposedly equalize internal and external pressures is a myth.

    Taping glass windows is also a non-effective myth, stay a way from windows and doors (do not attempt to push against doors/windows driven inwards by the wind; you are no match for the force of the wind), huddle in a safe room inside of house/building, stock up on at least days supply of non-perishable food items(including water), procure and maintained a battery operated radio, shelter in place if property is structurally sound (go to shelter if needed), listen to weather systems warnings, stock up on flash lights, prepare for both wind, flooding and storm surge ……….etc.

  5. Sam the man says:

    Is the No Direction Party ready? – well we all know the answer to that – absolutely not! and I don’t think they ever will be…time to hand over to others that can cope,plan and provide effective leadership…if we get another hurricane we’ll be absolutely screwed with this bunch of talkative amateurs playing at politics…

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