The construction of the new National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) in McNamara, Tortola is progressing, with the concrete roof pour now complete.
The centre is designed to house the Government of the Virgin Islands operations in the event of a major emergency or hazard impact and is being constructed to standards that will allow it to withstand all natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides.
Financial Secretary, Mr. Jeremiah Frett said following its destruction during the passage of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the Government of the Virgin Islands set out to rebuild the NEOC as a regional model for disaster preparedness and response.
Mr. Frett reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring projects that are vital to the Territory’s National Disaster Management Plan are funded and managed well, including the ability to respond to hazard impacts.
Mr. Frett said, “Now more than ever, there is an undeniable need to ensure we fund these projects that will help to safeguard our Territory, and better prepare us for disasters. The construction of a state-of-the-art NEOC is a major priority, and the Government of the Virgin Islands remains fully committed to this.”
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sharleen DaBreo-Lettsome, MBE, who is a former Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) said during the events of 2017, we fully understood and experienced some of the natural hazards the Territory is exposed to.
Mrs. DaBreo-Lettsome said,” Our previous NEOC was destroyed during Hurricane Irma, displacing the Government’s emergency operations centre. We want to ensure that does not happen again. The construction of a NEOC that is resilient and sustainable is a major priority as we plan for the Territory’s future.”
The new National Emergency Operations Centre features a foundation that was designed with ground anchors to ensure minimal movement during extreme weather, windows and doors rated far beyond Category 5 hurricanes, extra steelwork in size and quantity for increased rigidity, and an increased pound per square inch for concrete, to ensure a stronger structure.
There has also been an increase in connectivity between structural elements to ensure minimal separation during earthquakes and other extreme weather events.
During hazard impacts, public officers who are a part of the NEOC may be required to remain in the centre for a duration of time, to ensure the operations of Government, including the immediate response to impacts are coordinated.
The new NEOC is therefore being constructed to ensure persons can comfortably remain in the building, including the installation of water storage and solar technology.
The building is expected to be completed within the fourth quarter of 2024.
Tandem Development and D&B Construction are the contractors on the project that is being managed by Virella Crespo and Associates. The contract for the construction of the centre is valued at $9,803,215.53.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to ensuring the Territory is prepared for hazard impacts, including the ability to prepare effectively, and swiftly respond.
Eusa Z. Adams
Assistant Information Officer
Deputy Governor’s Office
Government of the Virgin Islands
Email: [email protected]