Press Release

Department of Disaster Management
Release Date:
Monday, 14 August 2017 - 8:00am

Three technical drainage and landslide experts from Puerto Rico are on Tortola assessing the extent of damage caused by the recent tropical wave.

Dr. James Joyce, Mr. Javier Rivera and Dr. Juan Virella are conducting these assessments in collaboration with local Engineers and experts from the Town and Country Planning Department, Public Works Department and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).

 Their visit to the island was requested and arranged by the DDM.

Director of the DDM, Sharleen DaBreo said, “These experts have worked with us as far back as 1999 after the passage of Hurricane Lenny and were instrumental in the assessments conducted in 2003 and 2010 when another tropical wave impacted the Territory.”  She added that they know the islands well and have worked extensively with local building professionals and some heavy equipment operators.  Dr. Joyce has also assisted in preparing geology, landslide and slope cut maps for the BVI. 

As it relates to their current work, the Director explained that, “On Sunday they started the process of collecting data on the drains, ghuts, hillsides and affected structures at various locations on Tortola.  This data collection process will continue over the next couple of days and will be analysed in order to determine the full extent of the damage and to better understand the level of impact.” 

The Director noted that steady updates on damage has been received over the past few days but explained that the final report on the cause and cost of the impacts will take some time.

She said, “The National Damage Assessment Team led by the Chief Planner started to collect data immediately following the impacts and these will provide preliminary indicators of what has been lost by each sector.”

The DDM has been actively involved in supporting the Premier's Office in coordinating recovery efforts following the passage of the tropical wave on August 7 and 8 which poured roughly 8.88 inches of rain in Road Town alone and approximately 16 inches on the eastern end of Tortola, which was in keeping with the initial estimated value of 17 inches calculated by radar images. 

The Director stated, “Since the passage of the tropical wave, the Territory continues to make steady and swift progress to recover from the impacts and I must commend all involved in this phase for their unwavering support as we continue to stand strong as one BVI”.

Ms. DaBreo said the DDM continues to remind all that August to November are considered peak months for heavy rainfall, tropical storm and hurricane activity. 

She added, “There also seems to be an increase in the frequency of tropical waves developing in our area and as we have seen, tropical waves can be intense enough to cause damage comparable to storms and hurricanes.”

The DDM is encouraging all to remain vigilant throughout the hurricane season which ends on November 30. 

Individuals are encouraged to finalise their hurricane preparations, ensure that they have an emergency supplies kit; battery operated radio; non-perishable foods; water and start conducting inspections of their homes and businesses.  Ensure any remedial work which may be necessary to lessen the risk of inland and coastal flooding and wind damage especially on roofs, drains, doors, windows and general surroundings are completed.

Continue to monitor DDM’s website and Facebook page (BVIDDM) for regular updates.

Photo Attached: Various images of damage assessment experts. Photo Credit: Department of Disaster Management