This weeks meeting focuses on the devastation inflicted upon Rotary District 7020; Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Barth, St. Maarten, St. Martin, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If after reading about the devastation you would like to support the local rotary’s efforts to fix the island you can go to their gofundme page.
Hurricane Irma Committee Disaster Report #5
AG Elvis (Juggy) Harrigan from the BVI reports: We dodged the bullet from Maria. We got strong wind and rain but nothing like Hurricane Irma. We are working on an account to receive funds specifically designated for the BVI. Our immediate needs are the following (this is not a full, comprehensive list):
We really need food
Disposable diapers (nappies)
Building supplies (plywood, nails, generators etc)
DGE Delma reports that Rescue Global are hoping to form a mutually beneficial partnership with Rotary in the BVI to aid the recovery efforts.
Current Unofficial Assessment:
About 80% of homes and businesses, as well as the Government’s Admin Complex have been damaged.
330 persons are in shelters and numerous individuals are staying with family and friends whose homes are still intact.
Regular ferry service between the BVI and USVI is temp. suspended.
Most of the public schools were damaged.
Some persons have temporarily relocated to get their children in school and for their businesses.
Electricity has been restored to most of the capital, Road Town, and portions of Wickham’s Cay – The main business district.
Telecommunication while not yet perfect has improved dramatically. All three telecom providers now have service on Tortola and limited service is now available on Virgin Gorda the second most populated island. Other outlying islands and some remote places on Tortola are still being worked on. Our primary radio station has been up and running for about 2 weeks which is extremely important for our communication.
Airport opened earlier this week to commercial flights.
The shipping port is open for commercial and regular shipments. Government has given a welcomed remission on customs duties to importers of building supplies, furniture, generators and a few other key items up to 31st December. This is a major gift to jump start the rebuilding process.
Law and order has been restored with reinforcement of the RVPF by the UK Military and forces from Cayman and Bermuda. Curfew has been reduced to 8:00pm to 6:00am and the state of emergency is expected to be lifted in two weeks.
Couple private schools are slated to open the beginning of October and most if not all of the public schools by November. Some in temporary locations.
Banks are opened. Including some ATM machines.
Supermarkets opened their main branches shortly after Irma and a few other businesses are gradually opening.
Debris is being cleared on a daily basis. Some communities have come together to assist in the effort and the difference is noticeable eg. East End.
On Tortola 2 gas stations are open and another will come on stream next week.
A WhatsApp chat for the BVI Family of Rotary was set up about 2 days after HI. 122 members are on and others are being added daily. This was initially set up to ensure members were fine. Relief and rebuilding Ideas are shared as well as general pertinent information. The chat is also used to galvanize volunteers.
A Hurricane Relief Coordinating Committee was formed to plan and bring structure to our efforts.
We mobilized and run one of the largest shelters in Road Town with support from the Social Department. The resident count was 86 the night that Maria came close to the BVI. Yesterday the shelter had appx. 40 residents.
We assist with a feeding programme of up to 1000 meals per day, delivering meals to the shelters, and more recently the prison. Pussers Restaurant has done a tremendous job preparing those meals.
Special funds were raised locally to help with immediate emergency supply of food and water.
The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) sanctioned Rotary as an official consignee to receive relief supplies. Rotary has worked with DDM to receive, inventory 7 40’containers of aid and dispatch all but 2.5 containers in 24 hours to our 9 Electoral Districts for distribution to individuals. We were able to achieve this through the support of businesses that made their equipment with staff available, including Meridian, RoadTown Wholesale Trading Ltd and One Mart as well as two community volunteers. We are assisting the UK Millitary and DDM with the cataloging and distribution of relief supplies. We liaise with DDM when necessary and have requested assessment reports by CEDEMA to better understand the current needs.
There are several voluntary organizations currently in BVI and more are coming daily. We have been meeting regularly to collaborate on matters of common interest, to sure up each other when necessary, expedite things and very importantly avoid duplication of effort. Some of these NGOS are Virgin Unite, VISAR, Team Rubican (UK), Serve On, International Red Cross, Catholic Charities and Aerial. UNICEF recently arrived and we intend to engage them in the conversation, particularly since we understand (unofficially) that they may be interested in doing something with the schools which is one of the priority areas that was identified by BVI Rotary as a possible major project. In this regard we also plan to speak with the authorities to clearly understand the needs of the Territory’s schools and what support has been committed to determine how we might best assist with same. We plan to engage Lions in these discussions.
BVI Rotary has an excellent reputation and a great Logistics Coordinator. Hence, we are being asked to assist and/or undertake logistics for incoming aid on a regular basis. Rescue Global and Air Link are the latest voluntary organizations to engage us. We introduced them to the District Disaster Coordinating Committee given the impact of HI on the District.
We anticipate, expect and would be grateful for more emergency supplies of food and water (not clothing) over the next few weeks. Building supplies including roofing material would also be
AG Marcellia Henry reports for St. Maarten, St. Martin, Saint Barthelemy & Anguilla
Post Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, and Hurricane Maria Report.
Two weeks after the passing of Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Saint Barthelemy and Anguilla are in a state of recovery. The cleaning up process has begun on all islands as civil servants, business personnel and volunteers have been assisting.
Electricity and running water on the islands is being restored in many districts where the wiring/pipes have been placed underground. On St. Barthélémy, for example, approximately 90% of water and electricity has been restored. On St. Maarten/St. Martin/Anguilla, however, there are still many districts where electricity and water have not returned for two weeks.
For those districts, they are still dependent on the water companies to pass around and provide them with the 2-3 buckets of water from their truck. Also on St. Maarten, the GEBE company has also made some main pipes/water hydrant areas available for persons to take water as they please. Natural springs/wells are also being utilized by others in districts on St. Maarten/St. Martin where these are available.
In terms of drinking water and food, on St. Maarten, a Food & Water Distribution Team coordinated by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor that consists of representatives of the Dutch Marines, Red Cross, K1 Britannia, Samaritan Purse , community leaders & volunteers, Civil Servants and a team of the Ministry of TEATT has been distributing Food & Water to persons in the community. For individuals that had difficulty reaching the distribution points, smaller groups of persons are going into those districts to get the food and water supplies to those in need.
Nevertheless, the complaint from the community has been that the food and water rations are too less/small and are not consistently coming to their districts on a daily basis. Some persons from the Dutch side of the island have even ventured to the French side of the island where they consider the food and water rations to be more substantive. There have been a few others who are still resorting to looting for their necessities. The military and police presence on the street and the curfew that is still in place for certain time periods, have however helped to decrease the looting spree on the island tremendously.
To alleviate the complaints from the community, the government has asked for the supermarkets that have not been looted and/or still have stock of food/water/beverages available to reopen. Over the past few days, more smaller supermarkets have opened which has resulted in long lines, but the people who still have cash (money) are very grateful for this.
Banks have also started to open their doors from 9am to 1pm for persons who need and have funds, and a few ATMs are open for certain time periods. So overall more and more insurance companies, pharmacies, hardware stores, gas stations and other businesses are reopening giving some sense of ‘normality’ to the island although the lines are extremely long and police/military presence are needed to keep the peace.
As it relates to the ports of entry, no commercial flights have resumed at the airport at this time only humanitarian flights. To date over 10,000 persons have been evacuated to other countries. The St. Maarten Harbor will be resuming business this week and will be receiving cargo.
Schools are still closed and children are still being evacuated to other countries. On St. Barthélémy, public schools are set to reopen 1/2 day before the end of September, whilst St. Maarten schools will reopen Oct 2nd for pre-exam and exam students for elementary and secondary schools.
For those who remain on all the islands, the following are needed. The list has been updated since the last report.
Food (non-perishable and canned, baby food)
Sanitary items (toiletries, baby pampers, wipes, etc)
Thermos flasks to keep water or food hot (shortage of cooking gas)
Building Materials and furniture
Rene-Jean Duret, Natural Disaster Chairman of Rotary Club of St-Martin Nord states: I believe we must mainly focus on middle and long term relief projects, and collect only financial donations. This will avoid logistical problems of transport, reception, storage and distribution. In the short term, we could ask Shelterbox, in coordination with the Collectivity of St-Martin, to provide Shelterboxes, for the homeless,. The Manager of the commercial Port of St-Martin/Galisbay (controled and secured by the French army) is OK to store it in an empty container.
Disaster Chair Jacqueline shares FEMA report on the US Virgin Islands Christianstead Harbor: o Four boats were visible on the reef; two boats had sunk in the harbor; two boats had sunk at the dock and a visible oil sheen/smell of diesel fuel was identified. Frederiksted Port (STX): o Pier is significantly damaged in at least three points which will require extensive and timely repairs. Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX): o Significant structural damage to supporting hangars and infrastructure however the runway appeared to be operational upon clearance of debris. Army personnel are currently on the airfield clearing debris however it may not be fully removed until Friday morning. o The Air Traffic Control Tower appears to be compromised as several windows were blown out however, assessment teams were unable to gain entry to determine the extent of damage. o There are currently no operational navigational aids, no power and no fencing around the airport due to storm impacts. o The passenger terminal sustained significant damage and is missing roughly 25% of its roof. Cyril E. King Airport (STT): o At the time of this report, airfield assessments appear to be favorable as personnel believe the only requirement to re-operationalize the runway is approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. St. John: o The car ferry and four to five personal ferries were secured and appeared to be functional. However the buoys may require a re-assessment by the U.S. Coast Guard. O Degradation of communications infrastructure has been apparent, limited access to cellular services. Communications personnel have identified an interim solution to internet and landline services by establishing VSAT capabilities. A “Watch Desk” has been established with a telephone backup, shared email account and several network cables. Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center (STX): o The hospital sustained damage to its roof which compromised the ability to utilize 3/5 operating rooms. The evacuation of 58 patients will be executed and brought to Augusta,GA or Columbia, SC due to the risk for cascading health hazards.. Caribbean Kidney Center (STX): o 118 patients will be evacuated to either Augusta, GA or Columbia, SC due to a health hazard caused by water due to the risk for cascading health hazards. Schneider Regional Medical Center (STT): o Roads to the hospital remain mostly clear.
Numerous gas stations in Frederiksted (STX) were destroyed, leading to potential environmental concerns. Electrical Service: Feeder 1 which supplies power to the WAPA Water Plant is out of service. Feeder 2 which supplies power to the Airport is out of service. Feeder 5A which supplies power to Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center is energized and stable.
Based on an initial assessment, it is estimated that 65% of the electrical infrastructure in Frederiksted has been destroyed.
PDG Felix reports from theTurks & Caicos Islands
The Salvation Army is continuing to distribute over 900 meals per day to persons in shelters in Providenciales, in addition to this meals are being distributed to some families who have remained in their communities. Government had proposed closing the shelters on Sept 16th but have now extended the time the shelters will be open by one week. The Salvation Army will continue to provide food to the shelters as long as they are open.
A ship is scheduled to arrive on Sunday with food and Samaritan’s Purse is sending a DC3 aircraft with a shipment of tarpaulins & hygiene kits on Monday. The Salvation Army is working with “Mission of Hope for Haiti”, “Samaritan’s Purse” and the local business community to receive and distribute these items. The Salvation Army order of cots, tarpaulins, bedding and flash lights is enroute, however there is a delay due to the challenge of finding trucking space to transport the goods to Florida. Upon arrival at the airport in Florida a flight is already in place to immediately transport the shipment to Turks and Caicos.
The local hotel & resort organization and the Sandals Foundation will be coordinating their relief efforts through The Salvation Army. Contact has also been made with Missionary Flights International to coordinate their relief efforts in TCI through The Salivation Army.
We are anticipating the arrival of 5 40 foot shipping containers of relief supplies toward the of the coming week, other shipments are also being arranged. The Salvation Army in The Caribbean is working toward an arrangement with the USA East Territory to assist with the set-up and operation of a 10,000 sq ft warehouse. DHQ is also working toward sending a team to assist personnel in TCI, the timing of the team will be determined as the effort in TCI moves from a feeding program to a longer term assistance.
The Salvation Army Officer in TCI reported this morning that they are now in the process of preparing for hurricane Maria. Persons already in the shelters due to IRMA will remain there. There are also a large number of people who are living in homes that were partially destroyed by IRMA that will require shelter as their homes are missing portions of walls and or roofs. in the midst of these preparations the Army is continuing to deliver 900 meals per day to those in shelters and reaching out to the most vulnerable to encourage them to find shelter before the arrival of Maria.
AG Marston in St. Thomas: Roads are being re-cleared after Maria. The seaport is currently closed and the airport open to military. Some donors would like to donate specifically to the USVI and they are working on an account for this purpose.
District 7020 Rotaract ADRR Leah Lowe reports:
Rotaractors are keeping in contact with their members who have suffered from the hurricanes and providing ongoing and much needed emotional support.
7020 Rotaract Clubs; brainstorming and planning is underway. I would like however to be kept in the loop if there are any updates or formal notices being sent out other than what is being posted on Facebook. Rotaractors can share efforts across their Social Media and other communications platforms, hopefully greatly increasing our reach outside of the District.
7020 and 7030 Rotaractors have been building a strong partnership over the last two years. Our leadership teams have been in contact through Irma and now Maria. Below is information received this morning from 7030 PDRR Giselle.
Connect With Rotary eClub 7610
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Barry Rassin - President,
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