April 24, 20191116Views

A delegation from the Virgin Islands is sharing the Territory’s compelling post-hurricane recovery story at the National Hurricane Conference (NHC) this week in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The delegation includes Director of Projects with the Ministry of Finance Dr. Drexel Glasgow, Acting Deputy Director, Public Works Department Ellsworth Phillip, Emergency Communications Manager at the Department of Disaster Management Jasen Penn, and Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer Natalie O. Hodge.

 Dr. Glasgow gave a presentation on hurricane recovery based on the lessons learned after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. He also shared how the territory’s Comprehensive Disaster Management plan was implemented and how the document guides the ongoing recovery process.

DDM Director Sharleen DaBreo, MBE said conferences like the NHC present an important opportunity to share what BVI has learned with the international community.

Ms DaBreo said 2017 was a devastating period for the Virgin Islands and the effects were shown worldwide. The Territory she said should embrace these opportunities because there is an important story to tell.

“As we recover from these events we must use these events to tell others about our recovery efforts and the strength of our Disaster Management Programme. It is for this reason that we seize these opportunities to present on how we are building resilience and using the lessons learned from the past,” Ms. DaBreo said, adding there has been significant investment into disaster management generally since 1979 when the precursor to the department was established.

The National Hurricane Conference also provides an opportunity for the BVI to collaborate with international partners. This conference will see several one-on-one sessions including Mr. Penn’s meeting with Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science Researcher, Phil Klotzbach, the lead author of the university’s annual Atlantic Basic Hurricane Forecasts.  Other meetings will be held with forecasters from around the world who play a vital role in guiding preparations for the annual hurricane seasons.

The National Hurricane Conference brings together 2,000 representatives from around the United States as well as the Caribbean and Pacific island states to train, exchange ideas and share best practices on hurricane preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery.

Participation of the delegates from the Virgin Islands was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).