British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021

Remembering Hurricane Irma: 4 years after the devastation

Four years ago today, September 6, Hurricane Irma — one of the most powerful storms ever seen in the Atlantic — smashed into the BVI causing unspeakable damage.

The photograph above, which shows a resident standing amid the debris after the category-five hurricane, gives a glimpse of devastation to these Virgin Islands.

One of the major fallouts of the disaster was the damage to the territory’s electricity infrastructure which resulted in most of the BVI being without power for months.

Amid Irma’s fourth anniversary, one legislator, Mark Vanterpool, has made calls for the BVI Electricity Corporation to escalate plans to get more of the territory’s power lines underground.

“I went through the 2017 Irma,” Opposition Legislator Mark Vanterpool told the House of Assembly recently. After it was done, we looked at what is going to be sustainable development for the future … We need to build the roads, Mr Minister of Transport. But while we are building those roads, the Electricity Corporation — Minister responsible for electricity I hope you’re listening — needs to bury the main lines in the roads and take down the poles so that next time there is a big hurricane we don’t have to be out power for six months.”

“That is sustainable development. That is what we should borrow money for the Social Security Board to do,” Vanterpool emphatically added.

“Our economy wouldn’t suffer for those long periods anymore … Borrow a hundred million from the Board, give it to Electricity, tell them dig up all the main roads,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the overall damage to the territory as a result of Irma was estimated at some $3.3 billion across all sectors.

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