A two million-euro grant from the European Union (EU) will be used to rehabilitate 10 emergency shelters in the British Virgin Islands.
The rehabilitation project is a partnership between the EU, the Department of Disaster Management, the Ministry of Health, and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) who will be providing technical oversight.
A request for the grant was made in November 2017 by government and in February 2018 a response was received. Speaking at a media conference at the Central Administration Complex on Tuesday, October 29, Acting Premier Kye Rymer said the EU responded favourably and in record time.
“They (the EU) responded in record time in agreeing to give us a grant of two million euros to assist with the rehabilitation of emergency shelters across the territory which have been damaged from the hurricanes of which we are extremely grateful,” Rymer stated.
While the number of shelters to be covered was said to be 10, the Acting Premier listed only nine during the conference. These include the West End Community Centre, Cane Garden Bay Community Centre, Sea Cow’s Bay Community Centre, Anglican Church Hall, Purcell Community Centre, East End/Long Look Community Centre, North Sound Community Centre, Brewer’s Bay Community Centre and the Long Trench Community Centre.
“The funding will also provide emergency relief supplies to these shelters, training for the public and private sector in resilience, safe and green smart building strategies and standards and training in shelter management inclusive of shelter of cycle social care,” Rymer said.
High Priority by Health Ministry
Meanwhile, Health Minister Carvin Malone said that his ministry has placed a high priority on conducting community repairs in the territory.
He said: “The first phase of emergency repairs has been geared at ensuring that most of the buildings were rendered watertight in order to prevent further deterioration and restore a basic level of functioning within available resources.”
Malone further said these works include roofing, the installation of windows and doors, repairs of electrical and plumbing systems, kitchen cabinets and perimeter fencing as well as the painting of interior and exterior walls.
Much more than just repairs
Governor Augustus Jaspert, in the meantime, said the project is not just about repairs but about rebuilding better.
“This is about taking our shelters to a stronger standard and here’s the opportunity for our territory to receive assistance in improving in shelter management programme to incorporate PAHO smart building guidelines to meet the goals of our build back better stronger approach,” the governor said.
While no specific timeline to the start of the project was given, the governor said it is expected to be completed over the next two years.
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