While there are a few things still left to be put in place, the British Virgin Islands is largely prepared if Tropical Storm Dorian was to alter its course and hit the British Virgin Islands as a hurricane.
Dorian currently appears to be moving away from the BVI but Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Sharleen DaBreo told BVI News on Sunday that, among other things, the territory has multiple containers fully stocked with relief supplies.
“Our district officers, our community emergency response teams, all those support teams in the community will have access to those resources if something were to happen. We have a fully stocked warehouse, we have replenished all of our back up spares for our telecommunications equipment, we’ve done as much as we can with the time frame that we had,” DaBreo said.
She said the containers are in the process of being transported to the Road Town Festival Grounds, which was used as a distribution centre after the September 2017 hurricanes.
She said these current batch of containers are 20 feet and 40 feet high and are available to be distributed to what she described as ‘satellite warehouses’ across the territory if the need arises.
27 emergency shelters available
DaBreo told BVI News there are also more than two dozen emergency shelters scattered across the territory.
She said the DDM has been using multiple platforms, particularly social media, to make the public aware of the position of Dorian as well as the locations of the 27 shelters.
“The ones we have issued are the shelters that we feel comfortable using this year. There are some of them that the public will see that have been removed and that’s because they’re under repairs and we’re hoping that those repairs will be completed sometime later this year,” DaBreo said.
“We have published a list and we’ve been also republishing that list over the entire weekend. We’ve been pushing it out on social media so everyone should be able to access it.”
Multiple-hazard alert system, VHF network operational
The DDM director said here department, which has partnered with other government agencies, has been implementing a multi-hazard alert system that can be used for “any type of hazard that may affect the territory”.
This includes a Very High Frequency (VHF) telecommunications network that is now fully operational. This VHF network will prevent a repeat of 2017 when all the main islands were entirely out of communication with each other after Hurricane Irma.
“We are trying to secure additional radios for departments that will need to have those. We are concentrating in making sure that we could work with the various Ministries, the Public Works Department, they have been concentrating in dealing with the guts,” Dabreo told BVI News.
She continued: “Right now, I can tell you today I have been in touch with many individuals who are part of what they call now the Resiliency Team. They have been trained, they’ve been meeting, they’ve been having discussions. We’ve reached out to the district officers who we’ve been in touch with to make sure that information is getting to them to ensure that they are ready themselves. I believe there is a well-oiled mechanism in place right now that when these things appear in the Atlantic, we understand what needs to be done.”
Dorian’s latest forecast?
At 5 am Monday morning, Tropical Storm Dorian is moving away from the BVI in a westerly direction. It was travelling 14 miles per hour and its centre is expected to be near the Windward Islands late Monday. Dorian is expected to move into the Eastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday.
Residents are advised to remain vigilant.
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