Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
A community meeting was held at the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School in Sea Cows Bay on June 7 to introduce residents to the SMART Communities project and address ways to mitigate against flooding using safe, green and healthy techniques.
According to government, Director of the Department for Disaster Management, Ms. Sharlene Dabreo said the project is about educating the community, so that they are empowered to act to reduce flooding.
Ms. Dabreo said “This project is not about introducing new technologies; it is about taking simple methods and getting members of the community to work with non-governmental organisations that are not technical agencies, to be able to apply soft engineering techniques to help reduce flooding.”
Ms. Dabreo added that the project is designed to get residents at the table to discuss the flood related issues that they have seen in their community.
“It allows residents to tell us more about the events that they went through, about your experience in responding to the flood events, what the level of the water was during these events, how it impacted your home, and for us to be able to use that information to come up with simple activities that the community, alongside the NGOs, can implement to reduce the impacts of flooding in the community,” she stated.
The meeting was facilitated by the BVI Red Cross, the Rotary Clubs of the BVI and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) through an NGO partnership approach in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management.
Residents were vocal about impacts received from past and recent weather events. They also shared historical data on the natural environment and how it has changed due to development and reclamation over the years.
A site visit has been organised to a resident’s home which was severely impacted.
Meanwhile, Director of ADRA, Jacob Adolphus rallied community members to get involved in community cleanup activities that are planned to make their community healthier.
The first initiative is a community clean-up on Saturday, June 23 from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. from the Albion Well to the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre. The cleanup will continue on Sunday, June 24 from Nanny Cay to the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Residents are urged to bring their gloves to participate in the activity.$
Green VI along with their partners VI Plastics and Green and Clean were also in attendance at the meeting and shared information on recycling projects that they have been involved with, including the placement of recycling bins at schools.
A demonstration on what should be included in a first aid kit and documents that should be preserved was done by BVI Red Cross, Disaster Management Officer, Cleve Pennyfeather.
Other plans for the Sea Cow’s Bay Community include the surveying of ghuts, installation of sedimentation traps and signage at points of interest, the replanting and labeling of trees and revitalisation of the CERT Team.
There will also be First-Aid certification, contingency and continuity training for businesses throughout the community as well as the installation of a siren and other hazard monitoring equipment. Repairs to the Valarie O Thomas Community Center and the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School are also expected under this project.