While claiming that the territory has been making ‘steady and swift progress’ in recovering from the impact of a recent tropical wave, the government-owned Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has shed more light on three landslide and drainage experts who are back on Tortola to work.
The Puerto Rican experts – Dr James Joyce, Javier Rivera, and Dr Juan Virella – worked in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on previous occasions, including one when another tropical wave affected the territory.
“These experts have worked with us as far back as 1999 after the passage of Hurricane Lenny, and were instrumental in the assessments conducted in 2003 and 2010 when another tropical wave impacted the territory,” said Director of the DDM Sharleen DaBreo.
In a media release this morning, she did not say what has happened to the previous assessments, and how much the current one will cost. BVI News Online tried to find out that information, but DaBreo was out of office.
She, in the press release, also stated that the experts know the islands well, and have worked extensively with local building professionals and some heavy equipment operators.
Dr Joyce previously assisted in preparing geology, landslide and slope cut maps for the BVI.
As it relates to the experts’ current work, DaBreo further explained: “On Sunday they started the process of collecting data on the drains, ghuts, hillsides and affected structures at various locations on Tortola. This data collection process will continue over the next couple of days, and will be analysed in order to determine the full extent of the damage and to better understand the level of impact.”
She also noted that steady updates on damage have been received, but the final report on the cause and cost of the impact will take some time.
“The National Damage Assessment Team led by the Chief Planner started to collect data immediately following the impacts, and these will provide preliminary indicators of what has been lost by each sector,” DaBreo said.
She stated that the experts are conducting the assessments in collaboration with local engineers and experts from Town and Country Planning Department, Public Works Department, and the DDM that had requested and arranged the visit.
8.88 inches of rain in Road Town
DaBreo said the DDM has been actively involved in supporting the Premier’s Office in coordinating recovery efforts, following the passage of the tropical wave on August 7.
She explained that the tropical wave poured roughly 8.88 inches of rain in Road Town alone, and approximately 16 inches on the eastern end of Tortola – which was in keeping with the initial estimated value of 17 inches calculated by radar images.
“Since the passage of the tropical wave, the territory continues to make steady and swift progress to recover from the impacts, and I must commend all involved in this phase for their unwavering support as we continue to stand strong as one BVI,” DaBreo said.
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