The recently created Anegada Zonal Disaster Management Team (AZDMT) has
elected its first executive body.
Mrs. Melanie Faulkner-Smith was elected Chairperson of the team at a recent
community meeting on Anegada while Ms. Lisa Vanterpool was elected Deputy
Chairperson and Ceon Levons, the Secretary.
The three-member executive has a mandate to spearhead the team’s work in
rolling out the community-based disaster risk reduction programme for the
island, coordinate regular meetings of the general membership as well as ensure
close collaboration with the District Officer.
The nine-member AZDMT was first established in October after members became
certified emergency responders following basic training in disaster response.
With the training provided, the team would be able to adequately provide
emergency support in the event of a disaster or hazard impact.
The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has been working in collaboration
with BVI Red Cross and the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service to provide
training for the team. In addition to basic disaster response, team members have
been trained in First Aid and fire suppression.
Last week, officers from the DDM tested the team’s response skills during a
simulation exercise, at which about 40 residents were present and participated
The DDM will continue to guide the team in the execution of its mandate.
Deputy Director Evangeline Inniss who has overall responsibility for the
department’s Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, gave assurances
that the team will not work in isolation but would function under the watchful
eye of the DDM.
Ms. Inniss explained the significance of the team saying “the vast expanse of
water which separates the islands in the BVI makes the establishment of
community structures like the Anegada Zonal Disaster Management Team vitally
important as they provide critical support for the DDM and is indicative of the
enhanced capacity we want to become evident in all communities throughout the
BVI. The team is working with skilled response personnel located on the Island
and have been able to get much needed support from Fire Officer Elnathan
The Deputy Director is particularly impressed with the composition of the
team. “The Anegada team is diverse, gender-balanced and bi-lingual. The BVI is a
diverse, multi-cultural society and it is important that we reflect that
diversity when we engage the community to avoid any disparity,” she said.
The DDM is working assiduously to build resilience and enhance capacity
within communities as part of its overall comprehensive disaster management
strategy. The first order of business for the newly elected executive and other
team members would be to determine the call out structure for their response in
the event of a disaster. This would be done at their next meeting in early