BVI News

Study finds that Sea Cows Bay is ‘vulnerable’, residents urged to establish committee to take action

Residents of Sea Cows Bay in the Third District were urged on Thursday to formulate a committee to mitigate against the community’s vulnerabilities in the face of a natural disaster.

Enhanced Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (EVCA) Officer, Anisha Brewley, made the call during the official handing over of the EVCA report at the Valerie O Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay.

Brewley said the community is prone to flooding and has seen an increase in the mosquito population since the hurricanes of 2017. One major cause to these problems is the presence of bulky waste, she noted.

At risk

Brewley further said that, with several homes still damaged following the 2017 disasters, residents are at risk in the event of another hurricane.

She said the BVI Red Cross would offer training and hurricane preparedness programmes in the community and would assist in installing traps in the ghuts and regular clean-up campaigns.

She, however, said: “We would love to form a committee within the community to help us ensure that these actions are carried out.”

Brewley stated that with the committee in place, the community can become more resilient.

The EVCA Report

Meanwhile, Volunteer Coordinator at the BVI Red Cross, Jaikarran Persaud, informed that the study started on August 12 2019. The assessment phase was done in August and September, and the report concluded in early January this year.

“This study was necessary because it helps the Red Cross in the event of a major natural disaster to become more prepared to respond to different communities. So all these reports go to our headquarters in Geneva and stored in a data bank so in the event of a major disaster there will be pre-existing data outlining the various hazards in these communities,” he told BVI News following the event.

He continued: “So after a disaster, they would not need to do initial assessments they would already have this information available which would make the initial response to that community faster. Everything the Red Cross does; it is for the benefit of the community. So we are trying to have communities take ownership of their communities and the responsibilities. It would just make more sense if people could contribute to their own recovery because they are the ones being affected.”

He said now that the BVI Red Cross had done its part, it is now left to residents to “help us to take action based on the risks.”

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20 Comments

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  1. BVI says:

    FRASER FOR PREMIER 2023

    Like 2
    Dislike 14
  2. SMH says:

    Hon Fraser needs to up his game plan with his Community. Step outside the Box and let’s see see physical activities and not hear or read verbal disagreements.

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  3. Self Centered Fool says:

    Nice job by the District Rep!

    Like 1
    Dislike 5
  4. Voter in 3rd says:

    I walked the road from town to Nanny Cay the day after Irma helping move the debris off of the roadway along with a number of residents and an excavator. What I experienced was a community helping each other; what I didn’t see then nor afterward was the district representative organizing the cleanup or even personally helping. It is time that we have proper representation from someone we can depend on in an emergency, even if it is just to show up with a shovel, axe, or broom and help!

    Like 19
    Dislike 3
  5. E. Leonard says:

    The article noted that an Enhancement Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (EVCA) study was conducted for the Sea Cow Bay area and found that the area was flood-prone, mosquito infested (primary cause bulky waste), some facilities/buildings damaged by September 2017 hurricanes are still in need of repair and are highly vulnerable to future hurricanes/disasters. However, outside of forming a committee to mitigate against community vulnerabilities, no other plan action was noted. A plan/project and dedicated resources are needed to address the identified issues.

    Undoubtedly, solving the mosquito infestation problem will be easier to solve than the flooding and repair/reconstruction of the damaged buildings. The bulky waste and other devices that can hold stagnant water needs to be removed, coupled with mosquito spraying. Perhaps the mitigation committee can organize a district-wide clean up and coordinate with the Solid Waste Department for a special bulky waste pick up.

    Moreover, the drainage issue is more complex and will take longer and more resources to solve. Like other areas in the BVI, Sea Cow Bay has grown and urbanized. As an area urbanizes, the runoff volume from hard surfaces, roofs…..etc increases, along with rate/speed of runoff. Runoff typically moves from high elevation to lower elevation, ponding in low spots until the low spot volume is exceeded then the drainage flow continues until it either reaches another low spot or reaches the sea.

    Further, if the runoff is blocked from making its way out to sea, it will pond inland, resulting in flooding. To mitigate the flooding, all construction permits should include a drainage plan. This is important so that the runoff from Property A does not cause a run on nuisance for Property B. Each property owner is responsible for the drainage runoff from his/her property.

    A drainage plan should be developed for the area; in fact, the territory needs a comprehensive drainage master plan. Nonetheless, in the mean time, the ghuts should be placed on a periodic inspection and maintenance schedule programme, ie, monthly, quarterly……..etc. Additionally, after a prolonged heavy rain, the ghuts and other drainage conveyance systems should be inspected and maintenance performed as needed.

    Like 25
    • Disinterested says:

      The Hon Fraser can used a portion of the D-3 stipend to help collect and dispose of the bulky debris. Eradicating mosquito helps the whole district.

      Like 12
    • Island General Engineer says:

      A portion of the district may be low lying making it prone to flooding. Managing runoff, the portion of rain that does not soak into the ground, is the key to control flooding. As noted above, urbanizing increases the volume and rate of runoff that must be collected, safely conveyed and discharged. Additionally, interfering with the natural drainage paths created by nature without effective alternative paths can lead to flooding. The bottom line is don’t block drainage paths without proper accommodation. Tortola, VG…..etc is being built out and needs a proper drainage plan. Though the August 2017 flood was a 500 year event, it may be a precursor of things to come, with global warming/climate change on the horizon, coupled with building out. Thus, drainage and controlling flooding must be high on the budget list of things to do. in regards to the bulky debris, surely this should not be a lingering issue in the SCB community.

      Like 12
    • Guess what says:

      Awesome. As always

    • Engineering Student says:

      The BVI is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, especially hurricanes. Due to climate change and global warming, major hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more severe with heavy rainfall and flooding. Every year, the BVI goes through the ritual from June to November keeping its fingers crossed and hoping that it will get a reprieve for the season. Nonetheless, it is not if but when another hurricane will hit so preparation and readiness is the key to mitigating the damaging effects of hurricanes as was experience in September 2017. Monster category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria had no mercy, causing significant damages ($3.6B) and impacting many lives and circumstances. August 2017 (major flood) and September 2017 was one for the ages.

      In my hydrology class, the professor used following a rain drop to explain the hydrologic cycle (evaporation and transpiration, water vapor, precipitation, infiltration and runoff and evaporation and transpiration). As such, the narration of the drainage flow over the surface tie the classroom theory with the practical. I was always curious as to how to manage effectively drainage in hilly terrain, ie, interrupting, capturing and safely conveying the flow to a water body. Listening to Great Mountain Ghut roaring after a heavy rain was fun. But once the in-situ condition is disturb, ie, growth and development….etc drainage get challenging and interesting.

      Consequently, as E. Leonard suggests the BVI needs a drainage master plan. With the changing landscape, drainage cannot be ignored and must be confronted head on. One of the areas where proper drainage is needed is on road construction. The drainage on roads is poor, leading to premature road failure and unsafe road conditions. Town and Country Planning needs to institute some strong drainage criteria for roads, commercial, industrial and residential construction. Building in flat flood-prone areas need special attention, ie, elevation of foundation relative to the crown of road and edge of pavement, freeboard, hydraulics…..etc. Sea cows Bay needs some help, problem identified.

    • Red Cross says:

      Good day, we would like to get in contact with you. Please email us at evcabvi@gmail.com

  6. Diaspora says:

    Enhancement Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (EVCA) Officer is a nice official sounding job title. What agency is Ms.Brewley attached to,ie, DDM, MHSS, MWTU, UN, Governor’s Office,Premier’s Office, UN…….etc? It is not clear. Nonetheless, study completed, it should have been delivered or handed off to the District 3 residents with more specific concrete action(s) , ie, SMART (Specific Measurable Actionable Relevant Timely) action plan. This is a little nerdy but hopefully the point got acrossed.

    Residents should have left that meeting with a greater assurance that help is on the way and soon; the calvary is rushing in. No doubt forming a community vulnerability working group and receiving disaster preparedness and readiness training are needed. Nevertheless, government action is needed in addressing some of issues discovered, especially the flooding vulnerabilities.

    Though government should not be depended upon to do everything (VI need to wean itself off this cultural norm; VIslanders were a hardy group of people), this flooding issue is inherently governmental. Perhaps a senior staff from the MWTU should have been at the meeting to highlight the planned action. District 3 is represented in the HOA by an opposition member but this is not and should not be a political issue; it is a people issue. Are these studies planned for every district or they are a function of a vulnerability rating? Was the Hon Fraser, D-3 Rep, briefed on the EVCA before the meeting? Which district or community is next?

    Like 15
  7. Lily Ann says:

    Fix Sea Cows bay water woes … then we can Talk about other possibilities in the district …

    • Diaspora says:

      @Lily Ann, the whole BVI needs a clean, safe, high quality and steady potable water supply. Water is life and is important in commercial, industrial, residential, institutional and domestic activities( cooking, bathing, washing, flushing, drinking). Water is importance for regulating body temperature and maintaining other body functions. Water is also important for growth and development, ie, fire flow to protect property.

      With a smaller population, the BVI got water from wells, springs, ponds, cisterns ….etc. However, the population exploded and the old sources were/are inadequate to meet the increasing demand. Other sources were needed but the territory has no rivers, dams……etc. The most likely source is desalination. Nonetheless, the territory needs more than the desalination process (water plant). In addition to production, storage capacity, distribution system and other appurtenances are needed. As such, to meet this critical need, the territory needs a potable water production and distribution master plan.

      Water should never have been a political issue but the rollout of BI-water resulted in it being a highly controversial and political project. On several political campaigns , BI-water was a core campaign issue. However, Of late, the noise about it has been rather quiet, with the acquisition by Seven Seas; allegedly a local billionaire has an interest in Seven Seas. Further, the incoming government was slow in completing the build out. IMO BI-water was a good start but it needs some mending to improve it. No programme is perfect when first rollout and needs some tweaking. The bottom line is that when BVI residents turn their taps they need a clean, steady, safe….etc supply go flow from them 365/24/7.

  8. U need to go says:

    We need an election now I want a woman running in the third

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