June 24, 20101438Views

Thursday, June 24Representatives from the Governor’s Office and the UK Naval Vessel HMS Manchester met with the Director and staff of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) on Monday 21st June

         The meeting included the execution of a Table Top Exercise to assess the National Emergency Operations Centre’s (NEOC) capabilities in regards to response to hazard impacts with the integration of external assistance from the UK Naval assets through the involvement of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

            The visitors were given a tour of the DDM’s facilities and an extensive overview of the Territory’s emergency communications and Early Warning Systems. The Commander and his crew expressed their admiration for the extensive investment made by the Government of the Virgin Islands in emergency communications resources. In keeping with the meeting agenda, the representatives from HMS Manchester presented a  description of their capabilities and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the provision of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to British Overseas Territories. 

         The head of the team, Lieutenant Commander (LT.CDR) Richard Underwood, explained that the primary aim of such relief is to provide immediate first aid assistance to UK Overseas Territories.  As mandated by both local and UK policy, the Governor is to ensure that the Territory receives assistance to cope when its capacities become overwhelmed and lives are threatened as a result of the impact of hazards.

          The meeting was followed by a reconnaissance flyover on Tuesday to examine vulnerable areas throughout the Virgin Islands. DDM’s Deputy Director, Mr. Zebalon McLean, Planning and Preparedness Manager, Ms. Sheniah Armstrong and Mr. Jose DeCastro, Deputy Director, Public Works Department joined LT. CDR Underwood, and flight pilot LT. Luke Edwards of the HMS Manchester. Aerial footage was captured to be used as data for planning, development and disaster management purposes. The meeting was mutually beneficial to the DDM and the HMS Manchester and key information such as maps of critical infrastructure and vulnerable sites were shared.

         To learn more about the Department of Disaster Management and its functions, call the main office at 468-4200, or visit the office at #3 Wailing Road, McNamara, Road Town.  Detailed information can also be accessed via the Department’s website at