BVI News

DDM, Health Ministry instructed to revisit emergency shelter responsibilities

Sharleen DaBreo-Lettsome is Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s office, which has responsibility for the DDM.

Cabinet has instructed the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) — through the office of the Deputy Governor — and the Ministry of Health & Social Development to review and potentially amend their respective responsibilities as it relates to emergency shelters in the British Virgin Islands.

A post-Cabinet report from its February 19 meeting said the decision came after reviewing the actions of both entities before, during and after the Tropical Storm Karen in September 2019.

The statement said Cabinet wants the two agencies to “revisit the responsibility assigned to the Ministry of Health & Social Development for maintaining the land-based emergency shelters owned by the Crown to better streamline the functional responsibilities within the Disaster Management Act (2003) Section 13(1), which requires the Director of Disaster Management to establish a list of emergency shelters”.

Both entities were also instructed to enter into an agreement that vividly outlines the responsibilities of each party about the maintenance of the community centres which are used as emergency shelters.

Additionally, the DDM and the said ministry must also establish a national group which will be responsible for managing the national emergency shelter programme.

This requirement is expressed in the 2019 revised Emergency Shelter Policy.

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6 Comments

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  1. Political Observer (PO) says:

    When a disaster either man made or natural occurs, the NEOC should take the lead in managing shelters. During this period, agencies, departments……..etc should be reporting directly to the NEOC/on scene commander and all requests for resources, ie, equipment, material…….etc should be coordinated through the NEOC.

    Prior to a building being dedicated as a ride out shelter, PWD/Engineering section should conduct an engineering evaluation of the building to determine if it is structural sound to resist the wind load of say the approaching storm. For example, if the approaching hurricane is a Category 3,(wind speed 111-129 mph) people should not be put in shelter rated as a Category 1(wind speed 74-95 mph); they should be housed in a facility rated a Category 3 or higher. It is poor form to house people in a facility that is not structurally sound enough to with withstand the approaching storm. VI must invest in some dome facilities that can withstand at least a Category 5(wind speed 157+ mph)storm. During a disaster they are used as shelters and admin or other uses When a disaster either man made or natural occurs, the NEOC should take the lead in managing shelters. During this period, agencies, departments……..etc should be reporting to the NEOC/on scene commander and all request for resources, ie, equipment, material…….etc should be coordinated through the NEOC.

    Prior to a building being dedicated as a ride out shelter, PWD/Engineering section should conduct an engineering evaluation of the building to determine if it is structural sound to resist the wind load of say the approaching storm. For example, if the approaching hurricane is a Category 3, people should not be put in shelter rated as a Category 1; they should be housed in a facility rated a Category 3 or higher. It is poor form to house people in a facility that is not structurally sound with withstand the approaching storm. VI must invest in some dome facilities that can withstand at least a Category 5 (wind speed 157+ mph) storm.

    Moreover, when the NEOC is deactivated, operations should return to normally assigned agencies or department.

    Like 14
    • Diaspora says:

      Agree with the suggestion that during a disaster that the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) should be the lead agency in a disaster declaration. . The Unity of Command, a tried and true management principle, is applicable and is more effective than a matrix organization, ie, one agency being responsible and accountable for leading and managing the event. This prevents bad and costly assumptions and placing of blame for inaction.

      Employing engineering, not administrative, actions, to determine the structural soundness of a building is sound action. Further, it is a false sense of economy/safety to put people lives at risk by housing them in a facility that is not structurally sound, ie, it cannot safely resist the wind force of the approaching storm, for example. Just putting people in a building with four walls and a roof should not be taken lightly.

      To ensure that is not a reality, requires some forward looking strategic planning. Further, essential services employees must be well trained on their responsibility(s) during a disaster, ie, where they should be, when they should report to their assigned stations/locales, what they will be doing, how they will be doing it……etc. The transfer of responsibility from the NEOC to regularly assigned agencies should be seamless as it was from other agencies to NEOC.

    • PO says:

      Clarification: The last two paragraphs are repeated and muddled. Nknetheless,”VI must invest in some dome facilities that can withstand at least a Category 5(wind speed 157+ mph)storm” should have during a disaster they are used as shelters and for admin or other uses in normal conditions.

      Several of these dome shelters should be built on Tortola and at least one on JVD, VG and Anegada. Further, the NEOC needs a back up location, if the prime location cannot function. And property, especially residential, should consider building a safe room in the interior of home if intended to ride out storm in home.

    • NPolitico says:

      @PO, I hear you but where they going build these domes and where the money going to come from? For one thing, Road Town is a small congested and jumbled up city and there is no room to build anything. Road Town is a poorly developed, non aesthetically pleasing, architectural embarrassment……etc city. Like the road network, no planning went into its build out. A missed opportunity. The VI seems to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. For example, the VI had the economic means and opportunity to develop the physical opportunity but that window is closing quickly. Road Town needs a renaissance. Raze the whole thing and start over. I know that is an unrealistic dream. It is refreshing to dream and dream big dream though.

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
      • Eyesontheprize says:

        Where are you from. Please shut up. Are you a city planner.? I swear you bloggers just come on here for every opportunity to down the BVI. Relocate our put yourself forward with substantive solutions or shut up and enjoy the sweets you living from..

  2. huh says:

    the photographer needs a different job

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