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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