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BVI disaster management department issues first post-hurricane report

September 14, 2017

ROAD TOWN, BVI — The British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management issued its first post-hurricane report on Wednesday:

1. The event

Hurricane Irma, a destructive category 5, impacted the territory on September 6, 2017, with winds of 185 mph causing widespread damage to the road infrastructure, housing stock, ports, telecommunications, electrical infrastructure and critical facilities.

Governor Augustus Jaspert declared a state of emergency on September 7, 2017.

A curfew order was established for the hours of 6 pm to 6 am effective September 8, 2017.

2. Current situation

Health Services and Facilities:

There have been seven confirmed deaths and an indeterminate number of injured persons. The hospital is functional. There has been minimal impact to the new Peebles Hospital. The annex has sustained some damage.

Housing Stock:

Preliminary assessment indicated that 60-80 percent of the buildings throughout the territory are damaged or destroyed with a large percentage of the building roofs being severely compromised.

Airport Operations:

The communications equipment in the tower at Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island is destroyed. The administrative office is also destroyed and the terminal has sustained some flooding damage. In addition, the fire hall and hangers have also sustained damage. The runway remains intact on Beef Island as well as on Anegada and Virgin Gorda.

In order to provide for immediate relief needs for the territory, the BVI Airports Authority has allowed access to traffic bringing emergency and relief purposes ONLY up to 5:00 pm daily.

Ports Operation:

The Port Purcell seaport is available to accept vessels. The shipments must be coordinated through the NEOC to receive authorization to enter.

The BVI Ports Authority’s main warehouse, West End seaport and Road Town seaport terminals have sustained damage. The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is currently providing security support for the Port warehouse and terminals.

Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services:

The East End Fire Station was damaged but the main appliances were secure.

Local search and rescue teams were dispatched.

The Fire Service is performing district drive through to provide information to persons in the place of a fully functional communications system.


The prison structure was severely compromised. There is roof and security fencing damage. The prison was breached with all 150 prisoners escaping. An indeterminate number of prisoners returned on their own accord, while others stayed to assist in the community restorative efforts.

Royal Virgin Islands Police Force

Armed security personnel were deployed and assigned to the airport (for the arrival of relief supplies), the hospital, supermarkets, shelters, passport office and some government agencies.

The RVIPF have identified Maria’s by the Sea as a possible housing for families who have been severely affected by the Hurricane.


  • Generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure has been severely damaged.
  • Electricity is only being provided through generators.
  • BVIEC is working to provide power to critical facilities in Road Town including hospital.
  • There is a possibility of being able to restore power to Anegada in the coming days.


  • Piped water facility is not functional due to the lack of electricity
  • Limited stock of potable water available
  • RFA Mounts Bay is providing a limited supply to Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke.


  • CCT is not functional.
  • Digicel has coverage only in Road Town and has an assessment and reconstruction crew into the territory.
  • Flow has sporadic coverage throughout the territory.
  • Five cell sites are set up in Road Town, Kingston, East End, Belle Vue and Carrot Bay.

Public Works:

Road infrastructure has been severely damaged. Heavy equipment operators have been deployed to all districts and have been working to clear roads to at least single lane traffic.

District 1: Roads cleared by community

District 5: Three deaths, roads impassable

District 7: Every home damaged and roadways were cleared, two deaths confirmed

District 8: Heavy equipment operators are clearing by community

Volunteer Services:

The BVI Red Cross has reported that they have received various relief requests from the Spanish speaking community. They are also supporting the search and rescue team and they have made contact with the British Red Cross on possible relief supplies from Panama.

RFA Mounts Bay:

Limited medical supplies have been provided to the hospital including:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Hypertension tablets
  • Stitches
  • Bandages
  • IV

The ship also provided three tons of water and 25 cases of water for Virgin Gorda.

HMS Ocean is also on the way from Bermuda and will arrive in the territory following the passage of Hurricane Jose.

Shelters/Temporary Accommodation:

Approximately 351 people are being accommodated in ten temporary shelters throughout the BVI.

Sister Islands:

Anegada: No loss of life. Generators available on island and specific personnel have SAT phones to ensure communication.

Virgin Gorda: Heavy Impact in North Sound.

Jost Van Dyke: Many homes have been damaged. Assistance is needed for food and water.

Smaller Islands: Peter Island, Mosquito and Necker Island, Gunna, Camanoes, Scrub Island all experienced some level of damage.


  • District Representatives were task with identifying runners to get messages in the districts.
  • The NEOC is making use of nearby radio stations to carry messages.
  • A communications plan with targeted messaging is in place.
  • Efforts are being made to re-establish VHF communications
  • HF Communications is available through the BVI amateurs
  • FM emergency communications is available from the NEOC.
  • Internet access is available and emails can be sent to [email protected]

Social media is active.

Immediate Needs:

  • Food
  • Water jugs
  • Water
  • Water purification tablets
  • Tarpaulins
  • Poles, transformers, lines, CARILEC crew, heavy equipment to support replanting and line construction
  • Security Personnel
  • 4-phase generators (ZBVI included)
  • 2 x 4, Plywood (170 needed for JVD)
  • Sat phones
  • Chainsaws, hand tools and wheelbarrows
  • Wood chippers
  • Metal compressors
  • Nails
  • Saws
  • Fuel Pumps
  • Cots
  • Repeater antennas
  • Mobile repeaters
  • Hand held radios
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Printers
  • Laptops for LSS/SUMA and NEOC
  • Blankets
  • Health
    • Linens
    • Towels
    • EMT Kits
    • Ambulances

IMAGE: Hurricane Irma left Road Town in ruins.



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