BVI And Britain Conduct Joint Hurricane Disaster Drills.

Photo credit: SOPH STEWART. Not a pretty picture, as a damaged home in Tortola is depicted in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
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The BVI Governor’s Office, Department of Disaster Management and other agencies took part in disaster simulations , which culminated in a four hour ‘semi-live’ crisis exercise with teams in London on Thursday morning.

The scenario was a severe hurricane that damaged both Anguilla and the BVI. The National Emergency Operations Centre was activated with key response agencies participating.

Crisis experts from the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had arrived in the Virgin Islands earlier in the week to host crisis response and disaster preparedness training.

Recently arrived Governor Daniel Pruce praised the efforts of all who took part in the training and simulation.

“I am grateful for those, in the BVI and in London, who put a huge amount of work into this exercise. It is vital that everyone plays their part in a crisis and preparation is key. The exercise demonstrates the UK’s commitment to supporting the BVI in the event of another natural disaster.”

The scenario required National Emergency Operations Centre activation of two different national-level emergeny response plans, and tasked participants with assigning limited resources, requesting additional assistance, and responding to cascading challenges arising out of the initial hazard impact.

Director of Disaster Management Jasen Penn said simulation exercises help reinforce good practises and improve response plans.

“Over the years we have learned that it takes the whole Territory working together to respond effectively to a crisis. Having all our key sector leaders present for this exercise facilitated excellent collaboration and partnership.”

FCDO’s Crisis Management Department lead four large exercises globally each year to test and improve response mechanisms. Throughout the week, FCDO trainers facilitated sessions on information management, logistics, crisis communications and other topics.

Representatives from the BVI Airports Authority, BVI Electricity Corrporation, BVI Fire and Rescue Service, BVI Health Services Authority, BVI Ports Authority, His Majesty’s Customs, Public Works Department, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Water and Sewerage Department, and the BVI Red Cross took part in Thursday’s simulation.

Souce: BVI GIS.
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