The communities of North Sound and West End will benefit from a British Virgin Islands Red Cross (BVIRC) disaster risk reduction project.
The project is aimed at strengthening the ability of individuals and communities to respond to the impact of hazards and disaster threats.
The two communities will receive capacity building and infrastructural support under the community risk reduction programme and funding support in the amount of twenty two thousand dollars ($22,000) by the British Red Cross for 2016.
Disaster Risk Reduction Manager with the BVI Red Cross, Jason Lyons outlined the benefits of the project to the two communities adding that the programme recently funded the development of the North Sound Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
He said, “The recently formed CERT in North Sound was funded under the programme and its members along with others in the community met and identified a number of hazards and risk reduction projects which they deemed necessary for the community to cope with and respond to disaster threats”.
Mr. Lyons added that based on the projects identified, the community risk reduction programme will fund the repairs to the Early Warning System (EWS) that serves the community and will install a generator at the North Sound Methodist Church which will provide backup power supply in time of need.
Consultations were also conducted with the West End community to ascertain the areas which needed to be improved in order to reduce the vulnerabilities faced by the residents. The West End CERT was developed under the BVIRC risk reduction project and they formed the nucleus of the group that met to discuss the potential projects for the West End Community.
The BVIRC Disaster Risk Reduction Manager explained, “We will now be working towards the establishment of a Satellite Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) in West End through which the CERT can assist the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) in providing critical information in the event of a hazard impact while at the same time support the community with its risk reduction and preparedness activities”.
Meanwhile, the Director of the DDM, SharleenDaBreo commended the BVIRC for its ongoing efforts to build resilience throughout the Territory. She said the DDM is pleased and encouraged by the work of the BVIRC within the communities and for continuing to fully embrace and demonstrate its contribution to the development of the Territory’s Disaster Management Programme.
Ms.DaBreo said, “This partnership with the Red Cross has been in place for many years now and we have seen the benefits of this relationship, especially through their involvement in the community based projects. It is important that we continue to maintain this relationship and provide opportunities for this practice to extend to other organisations who want to support community focused initiatives.”
The Director added, “This project by the BVIRC will ensure that residents of the two communities are better able to respond to and cope with emergency and disaster situations. Empowering communities is paramount to effective disaster risk reduction and disaster management and has been proven to reduce loss of life as residents become more knowledgeable about hazards and how to mitigate their impacts. Residents also have the ability to provide the initial response efforts that are needed during emergencies or disasters.”
The BVI Red Cross Disaster Risk Reduction programme initiatives are expected to be completed by November 2016. Other community-based activities have taken place in East End, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Purcell, Cane Garden Bay and Road Town.