Safe and Sound
Serve On's disaster response volunteers will emerge from their safe shelters this morning to see what further damage Hurricane Maria inflicted on the British Virgin Islands and to get straight back to work.
Though the teams reported facing Force 6 winds, gusting at Force 7, as they hunkered down in their safe houses on Tortola and on Virgin Gorda last night, the eye of the hurricane mercifully passed south of the BVIs.
It meant the 'monster storm' which had flattened 90 per cent of the homes on Dominica, and killed one person on Guadeloupe, was battering the US Virgin Islands and on collision course with Puerto Rico rather than adding further woes to the already devastated British Virgin Islands.
Our Operations room had monitored the welfare of our volunteers throughout the onset of the storm and was happy to report they were all safe and sound.
Before they retreated to a home they knew to have survived Hurricane Irma unscathed, our team on Virgin Gorda had spent eight hours securing two homes and a school, boarding up windows and doors, drilling through concrete and removing all debris that could be picked up by the storm.
They also helped to care for a 15-year-old boy who had fallen 12ft from a roof while helping his father weather-proof their own home.
The lad needs CT scans at the Peebles Hospital on Tortola but the weather meant he and his mother had to hunker down in the house with our team, waiting until Maria has passed before he can be moved.
On Tortola, our team had similarly spent the time ahead of Maria's arrival helping make shelters safe, and preparing for their own safety.
The word from all our volunteers was that they were fit and well and feeling positive about the ongoing work, as soon as the weather allows them to carry on.
One of the key functions our experts have been able to perform has been to help provide clean drinking water for the people of Virgin Gorda with our Arctic Clear portable water filtration unit.
When the unit broke from constant use, our collaborative partners at Team Rubicon UK were able to help us fly out spare parts with one of their teams in order to get it going again and it would seem wrong for the team, when they finally leave the BVI to take it away from the local people.
Finding the £3,000+ to replace the unit ready for future missions is another reason why the charity needs donations from the public.
In order to support this deployment and the day-to-day work of Serve On, helping disaster-hit communities around the world and at home, we need the public's help.
Please give what help you can. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.
Meanwhile, Serve On has been monitoring the latest earthquake in Mexico which has killed more than 200.
Having regard to the local capabilities to provide an Urban Search and Rescue response, we think they have the necessary specialist resources in country to cope with the disaster and so we have not formally offered our capability, but we will continue to keep an eye on the situation.