BVI News

4,240 houses reported damaged or destroyed in BVI

A cluster of wooden houses in Sea Cows Bay didn’t stand a chance. Photo Credit: Horace Mills/BVI News Online

The total number of houses reported damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Irma stood at 4,240 up to the end of September, but the devastation to other types of building throughout the territory is also significant.

The latest numbers regarding damage to buildings were released yesterday in the Third Situation Analysis presented by the Department of Disaster Management and the National Emergency Operations Centre.

The report noted that, as it relates to houses, there were various levels of damage, resulting from the category 5 hurricane that traveled with winds of 185 miles per hour (mph) – with higher gusts up to 215mph.

Giving a break-down of the damage to dwellings, the situation report said 592 were destroyed, 1,314 damaged by habitable, 731 damaged by inhabitable, and 1,603 had minor damage.


The number of businesses that so far have been reported damaged on Tortola stood at 79 up to the end of September, but the authorities noted that an assessment is ongoing on the inhabited islands.

“Of  the 13,884 businesses registered within  the territory, some received significant damages to their property including physical damages to building exterior and interior, loss of assets and inventory due to water damages, and looting.”

“On  the  island  of  Tortola,  79  businesses  thus  far  reported  and  confirmed damages  to their property during a meeting  held with the  Premier. These damages include failing roofs, broken windows, water damages, and flooding,” the situation report further said.


The authorities also report widespread damage to Government offices throughout the territory, including the Central Central Administration Complex in Road Town.

“The Central Administration Complex, which   houses several of the [government] ministries and departments, had approximately 95 percent in widespread damages to the offices  within the building. Damage typologies included destroyed external and internal walls, internal dry walls, ceiling tiles and frames, lighting  systems, AC ducts, furniture, and widespread flooding.”

“In addition, the Government’s satellite offices throughout the territory had major  damages ranging from flooding and damaged roofs to  total destruction of the offices,” the report said.


The situation report, in the meantime, stated that some healthcare facilities were also damaged.

“There are currently 11 public health centers and one hospital facility in the territory. Five out of 12 of the facilities were damaged – which included roof coverings being blown off, exposing either the interior of the structure or  ceiling boards and damaging windows, door and walls.”

“Several of the windows on the new hospital wing were damaged as well as the storm drain system, which resulted in water infiltration on three floors. The hospital annex, which houses  the hospital administration services, was  damaged – with the most significant impact to the roof, windows, door, and the water pipes,” the authorities explained.


The report, in the meantime, noted that a number of properties under the Ministry of Education and Culture were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Irma.

“A full assessment is ongoing. Four vehicles – one mini van for Sports Department, Book Mobile, two trucks – were  totally destroyed. The  office  housing the Department of Culture had little impact. Offices housing the UNESCO office, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Student Services Unit at the Ward Building had some damage but – with repairs, they should be operable in short order,” said the latest situation report.

It also reiterated damage to a number of schools.

“Five of 16 public schools were severely  affected by the hurricane and were deemed unusable. The main secondary school on  Tortola – the Elmore Stoutt High School – lost most of the structures and will required significant work to become operational. This school houses approximately 1,600 students and 180 staff. Eight schools on Tortola are fully usable; with minor damage to three.”

“On Virgin Gorda, the Bregado Flax Educational Centre (secondary division) was destroyed, but the primary division is usable. The Robinson O’Neal Primary on  North  Sound, Virgin Gorda, was damaged but some classrooms are usable,” the authorities said.

It continued: “The Claudia Creque Educational Centre on  Anegada had some damage, but most of  the classrooms are usable. However, it is currently being used as a shelter. Efforts are underway to transfer the shelterees to the Community Centre.The Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre – school for special needs children – was destroyed. From all reports, the private primary and secondary schools received some damage, but most are usable.”

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