With yesterday marking the start of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season, weather forecasters are predicting a busier than average season.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley is, therefore, urging residents to be properly prepared and rally together as a community to get through this period that will last through to November 30.
Dr Wheatley said while meteorologists have advised people to brace for a busier than normal hurricane season, residents of the territory know very well it only takes one storm to impact the BVI and cause devastation.
“With the memories of what we faced five short years ago still fresh in our minds, I urge all of us to recall what we learned during the fateful 2017 season and since. Whatever you wish you had done then, rally your families, coworkers, villages, and communities and do it now because together we can be ready,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Premier noted the territory is still recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria which happened some five years ago.
“Working closely with the European Union and PAHO has meant that key community centres on Anegada that also serve as emergency shelters have been repaired to a high standard and will soon be handed over to us,” Dr Wheatley said.
“Of course, recovery would not be possible without the strong backing of our local economic pillars of tourism and financial services. Despite the lingering effects of the pandemic and other uncertainty in our territory, both these sectors have shown signs of strengthening this year. As global restrictions ease, I look forward to even greater growth in these key areas,” the Premier added.
He said he is proud of the progress made since 2017 and he thinks people should take pride that the Virgin Islands
has not only survived the unprecedented impact of two category five hurricanes, but they came through wiser and stronger and are working together to rebuild a better Virgin Islands.
“Please do not let that progress fall by wayside. Rather, let’s do all we can to support our family and community. Now is the time to review and update emergency plans and emergency supply kits. Now is when we should take steps to protect property by inspecting structures, shoring up homes and businesses where needed, and removing hazards from around the exterior,” Dr Wheatley said.
“For those who are able, now is also the time to identify vulnerable members of our extended families or villages to see what assistance may be needed. If we find ourselves in need this season, please let’s reach out to employers, neighbours, friends and family members to make a plan for how we might best be able to weather a possible storm,” the Premier added.