The technical drainage and landslide experts have returned to Puerto Rico to compile a report on their findings following their damage assessments on Tortolaafter the passage of a tropical wave on August 7.
Geologist, Dr. James Joyce and Engineers, Mr. Javier Rivera and Dr. Juan Virella, joined a team of local engineers and experts in conducting assessments from Sunday, August 13 to Tuesday, August 15.
The teams’ damage assessments were overseen by Chief Planner in the Town and Country Planning Department, Mr. Gregory Adams and Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Drexel Glasgow.
Mr. Adams said, “During this initial damage assessment, the technical experts focused on assessing damage and determining the cause at various sites on Tortola.”
He further explained that information was received from members of the public about areas impacted by heavy rains adding that, “This information is an important part to the success of the continuing damage assessment and teams will visit the sites to characterise the damage and make recommendations for rehabilitation, mitigation and for future planning considerations.”
The information from these assessments will be used to estimate the cost of damages associated with the event.
Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Drexel Glasgow added that the engineering aspect of the assessment focused on assessing damages and failure mechanisms to the primary roads throughout the Territory and a few critical areas on some secondary roads.
He further noted that other accessors associated with regional institutions have been observing and collecting data on the recent flood impacts.
Dr. Glasgow said, “The Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB) Head of the Economic Infrastructure Division, Mr. O'Reilly Lewis conducted a mission to the Territory during August 16 to17, in light of the impacts resulting from the rains.”
During his time here, Mr. Lewis met with officials from the Ministry of Communications and Works, Ministry of Finance, and Department of Disaster Management.
Meanwhile, other accessors under the ‘Road Town Hydrology Study and Flood Risk Reduction Initiative’ are also on Tortola and have been collecting data as part of the Caribbean Development Bank’s funded project.
The ‘Road Town Hydrology Study and Flood Risk Reduction Initiative’ was launched in May 2017 and was commissioned by the Government of the Virgin Islands in order to understand the flood risks in Road Town and identify actions that can be taken to reduce the severity and consequences of flooding.
These assessments form part of the recovery process being led by The Recovery Task Force chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Mr. Brodrick Penn.
Mr. Penn said, “The consultants (technical experts) are expected to submit their report in the coming days but so far their preliminary findings are that the damages recorded mainly involves erosion, landslides, blocked drains and eroded beaches.”
The report, Mr. Penn explained, is expected to provide a detailed description of the failures at all major sites; provide detailed recommendations and designs which will include proposals for works from a geological standpoint and engineering drawings and designs based on measurements taken which will address hydrological concerns.
The Task Force will use the information gathered from the damage assessments to inform decisions on reducing hazard vulnerability in the future.
The Recovery Task Force was mobilised on Monday, August 14 to serve as the official basis on which planned and coordinated actions can be taken in support of the recovery efforts following the impacts of the tropical wave.
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