Still Making A Difference
Our amazing volunteers are continuing to build up the resilience of the Hurricane-hit communities on Virgin Gorda.
Working long hours, from 6.30am to midnight, they have made themselves invaluable to the Virgin Gorda islanders with their guidance, support and communications expertise, as local recovery team leader Sally Riley was only too keen to recognise.
See Sally's view on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/serveonIRT/videos/vb.347242632084232/954957174646105/?type=2&theater
Meanwhile we have been happy to welcome home Serve On's Mark Gatfield and Roger Howells and Ellie Mackay from Team Rubicon after their sterling work on Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands.
They had been providing logistics and coordination support to the islanders, repairing Hurricane shelters and helping to prepare for the impact of Hurricane Maria.
After the storm passed they focused their efforts on gettting key facilities up and running.
Roger, a former fire fighter from Mid and West Wales Fire And Rescue Service said: "The fire headquarters in Road Town had been badly damaged. The building was full of water, their control room was wiped out, computers and cables everywhere.
"We were able to work alongside the firefighters to help clear the debris and divert water away from the building."
See report of Roger's work here: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/retired-welsh-firefighter-flew-caribbean-13674774
The team also assessed an old people's home where they found residents who could not be moved sheltering in very cramped conditions on the ground floor after the roof of their building had been blown off.
Roger said: "Working with the 59 Commando Royal Marine Engineers, we manged to empty debris and replace the roof of the building. We gave them what protection we could in the immediate aftermath of the storm."
They arrived home this morning to be welcomed by their families. Well done guys. Great work.
Back on Virgin Gorda, our team of Dan, Craig and Simon, plus Lizzy from our collaborative partners Team Rubicon UK, have seen the local management team grow and increasingly grasp the recovery plan our team has been helping them with and which has received high-level backing.
As pictures from NASA showed how Hurricane Irma had turned the British Virgin Islands from a green paradise to a brown wasteland, the BVI Governor's representative, on a visit to Virgin Gorda welcomed Serve On's efforts to help the local communities get back on their feet.
An advanced party from HMS Ocean also commented on how well the island was doing with Serve On's help, and how other islands would do well to follow the example.
There was more good news when the 15-year-old lad who took shelter with our team from Hurricane Maria was finally evacuated to hospital at Tortola for checks and was found to have suffered only bruising and a small tear to a kidney from his fall from a roof.
Our team is now back at their base in The Valley area of Spanish Town, having spent hours clearing the flood water brought by Hurricane Maria, and coping not just with the needs of the local people, but also with visits from the local wildlife, including fire ants, spiders, scorpions and the ever-present mosquitoes.
The next challenge will be to leave the local community to cope without us, and to pave the way for the rebuilding work of the 'grey shirts' from Team Rubicon.
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.