The Ministry of Health and Social Development has confirmed five cases of the Zika virus in the British Virgin Islands.
Three of the cases were tested locally and found to be positive and two cases were tested overseas and found to be positive as well. The cases were contracted in the Cane Garden Bay and Havers areas of Tortola.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ronald Georges has stated that with our neighbouring islands contracting the virus, it was only a matter of time for the Territory to confirm cases.
Meteorologists have linked the presence of Saharan Air Layer (SAL) or Saharan Dust across the Atlantic Ocean, to the calm currently being experienced for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
The very dry, dusty layer of warm air occurs when a dust storm develops over Western Africa in the Sahara Desert and gets blown into the Atlantic Ocean by easterly winds.
The communities of North Sound and West End will benefit from a British Virgin Islands Red Cross (BVIRC) disaster risk reduction project.
The project is aimed at strengthening the ability of individuals and communities to respond to the impact of hazards and disaster threats.
The two communities will receive capacity building and infrastructural support under the community risk reduction programme and funding support in the amount of twenty two thousand dollars ($22,000) by the British Red Cross for 2016.
Several residents from Cane Garden and Brewers Bay are now trained in a number of basic life support and rescue techniques.
The training programme was conducted by the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) from March 15 to 23.
Participants were trained in basic fire suppression, basic search and rescue, first aid and CPR, and disaster medical operations which can make a difference between life and death during emergencies.
A public/private partnership has been established to chart the path towards mosquito eradication on Virgin Gorda.
The ‘Project Bug Out’ partnership is part of efforts to reduce the potential impact of the Zika Virus on the sister island. The project’s steering committee is comprised of community members from private, pubic and non-government sectors and will seek to ensure that all residents of Virgin Gorda and surrounding cays are aware of the immediate measures that they can take to support mosquito eradication.
Several Participating States in the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) system have been placed under immediate drought watch or warning for 2016. The drought situation remains a major concern for many countries due to the below-normal rainfall recorded during the previous dry and wet seasons, which resulted in a number of countries experiencing water shortages in 2015.
Minister of Natural Resources Dr. Kedrick Pickering has announced a pilot project that will be implemented in Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay to – among other things – address the issues of flooding, sediment pollution and beach erosion in "very practical and tangible ways". He said the initiative – which is dubbed the North Shore Integrated Coastal and Watershed Stabilisation Project – is being implemented under the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), and is spearheaded in different countries by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States OECS Commission.