Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has promised to have hurricane shelters ready soon.
The Premier’s promise follows a State of Readiness Report (SRR) that was recently submitted by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).
Effectively, the document showed the level of preparedness of the territory ahead of the 2018 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
According to a government media release, the Premier pledged support from his ruling National Democratic Party government.
He said they are committed to constructing a new headquarters for the National Emergency Operations Center and for the DDM.
While addressing members of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) on March 22, the Premier affirmed his commitment to getting the emergency shelters ready in time for the peak of the next hurricane season.
Emergency shelters that were damaged or destroyed during last year’s hurricanes are still not yet repaired.
BVI not fully ready
Meanwhile, DDM Director Sharleen DaBreo said the record-breaking season of 2017 shows that the overall weather ‘landscape is changing’ for the territory.
“We are not only dealing with the impact of hurricanes but also the unpredictability of tsunamis, earthquakes and the rapid onset of intense rain periods and high surf events,” she said during the recent NDMC.
DaBreo highlighted the level of readiness per local sector and the support that has been committed by regional and international partners.
Importantly, she also spoke of the actions needed to bring the country’s state of readiness to a satisfactory level.
The NDMC meeting also focused on the concerns that arose from the consultations and interviews carried out by the DDM over the past few months.
Governor Augustus Jaspert, who also spoke at the council meeting, said it is paramount the territory gets ready in time or the impending season.
Amendments to disaster bill
In the meantime, the NDMC provided a list of proposed changes to the Disaster Management Bill 2017.
These amendments are based on the experiences of last year and the feedback received from the various Disaster Management Council committees and residents, the aformentioned government release said.
According to the release: “The next step is the advancement of these amendments to Cabinet where further discussions will be held on how they can be facilitated within the final version of the Bill that is before the House of Assembly.”
The NDMC is made up of Permanent Secretaries and other senior representatives of government who chair the NDMC’s various committees.
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