BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: GOVERNOR McCLEARY REVOKES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE TERRITORY
Governor McCleary revoked the state of emergency with effect from midnight Sunday, October 16 and all other statutory instruments under which various orders were made. Following the flash flood on September 19 and the subsequent flood from October 5-6, the Governor declared a state of emergency in the Territory.
The Governor, acting after consultation with the Premier, made the decision to declare a state of emergency and to issue orders for specific areas on Tortola on the basis of initial impact assessment reports and advice from various heads of departments.
"In the period following the flash flood events, I kept the Premier and Cabinet fully informed of developments. I also maintained regular contact with the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), the Public Works Department and the Attorney General's Chambers to ensure that the state of emergency was lifted as soon as measures to alleviate the flooding were completed," the governor explained.
The revocation of the state of emergency means the Territory is now in a recovery phase. The Premier's Office, the ministry responsible for the recovery phase of disaster management, has already commenced such efforts similar to actions taken under the Recovery Task Force following the passage of Hurricane Earl.
The DDM will continue to collect all relevant damage and needs assessment information, which will be submitted to the Premier's Office for analysis. The DDM has notified all individuals who have suffered any impact from the passage of Tropical Storm Otto that the deadline for submission of claims is October 31, 2010. The deadline will allow sufficient time for such claims to be assessed and submitted to the Disaster Fund Committee established under the Disaster Management Act 2003.
The flash flood event which occurred on October 5 and 6 posed significant management challenges for emergency response agencies. In addition, many individuals were affected by flood waters and landslides and the impact to public infrastructure was significant resulting in damaged utility pipes and undermining of roadways. The flash flood event has been analysed by experts as being a 50-year flood event, which dumped some 24.98 inches of rain on the Territory over a three-day period.
Section 2 of the Emergency Powers (Disasters) Act (Cap. 239) gives the Governor authority, after consultation with the Cabinet, to declare a state of emergency in the Territory, after the occurrence of a disaster. The Governor serves as chairman of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC).