As territory braces for Hurricane Jerry, which is now a category two hurricane, two emergency shelters have been removed from the original list of 23 that was announced by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) back in August.
According to the DDM’s Information and Education Manager, Chrystall Kanyuck-Abel, the Gertrude & Christiana Community Centre in Purcell Estate, Tortola and the St Ursula Catholic Community Centre on Virgin Gorda were struck from the list because of Hurricane Dorian which affected the territory last month.
She, however, told BVI News that persons in those districts will have nearby alternative primary shelter options.
“It is important to note that those communities are still being served. Virgin Gorda has the Assembly of God Church Hall as well as the North Sound Methodist Church Hall and Purcell has the Wendell Potter Learning Centre. People will also be quite close to the New Testament Church of God in Baugher’s Bay and those are all primary shelters,” Kanyuck-Abel said.
Swifter action compared to Dorian
The DDM officer also said her department has acted much earlier ahead of Hurricane Jerry than it did for Dorian last month.
This swifter action has reflected in a number of decisions by government, she said.
“If you look at the [Acting] Governor’s decision to shut down the Public Service tomorrow (today, September 20) and his advice to the private sector to follow suit, all of that is coming out of the experience that we had with Dorian where it appeared that it was going to pass well south of us and it was a tropical storm. But, overnight, it became a hurricane and it tracked much closer to us than originally anticipated,” Kanyuck-Abel said.
Contingency supplies still available
She further noted that the contingency stock is still available and ready to be distributed if needed. That stock remains positioned on the festival grounds in Road Town.
In the meantime, the DDM information officer is urging residents to be as prepared as possible ahead of Jerry, which is expected to pass north of the territory.
“For everybody, we would say that it’s best to be ready. We know that there is a chance that this won’t be a serious storm but we would much rather see people prepare for a serious storm, test whether their emergency plans are sufficient and don’t be caught off guard,” she said.
A high surf warning is now in effect for the British Virgin Islands.
Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.