At the virtual meeting held on October 29, 2021, the UNDP presented its Household and Building Damage Assessment (HBDA) toolkit that can be activated after a hurricane to help local Government authorities determine the extent of damage to their housing stock, as well as economic losses to households.
According to a press release from Government Information Service (GIS) today, November 8, 2021, Director of the Town and Country Planning Department Mr Gregory W. Adams welcomed the available assistance to the Virgin Islands and highlighted his department’s official responsibility for damage assessment after a natural disaster. He also discussed the current status of the Territory’s damage assessment systems and lessons learned from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that UNDP and the VI would build upon their existing cooperation to include UNDP support to the Government of the Virgin Islands for capacity building in the area of household and building damage assessment to help strengthen the local authorities’ ability to perform this critical function after a natural disaster.
Speaking on the importance of the meeting, Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office Dr Carolyn O’Neal-Morton expressed her gratitude to UNDP for their commitment to assist the Virgin Islands in the event of a natural disaster and to help build local damage assessment capacity that will support recovery for which the Premier’s Office holds responsibility.
According to Dr O’Neal-Morton, “UNDP’s household and building damage assessment toolkit is highly effective and we are grateful that it is available to the Virgin Islands in the unfortunate event of a hurricane or earthquake. I am also very pleased that UNDP will be providing capacity-building support to the Government in this area. Our partnership is going from strength to strength that is assisting our local efforts to build greater resilience.”
The VI delegation included Permanent Secretary, Dr Carolyn O’Neal-Morton; Director of the Town and Country Planning Department, Mr Gregory W. Adams; and Special Envoy of the Premier, Mr E. Benito Wheatley.
The UNDP team included Resident Representative in Barbados Ms Valerie Cliff, UNDP Programme Analyst Mr Marlon Clarke and UNDP Information Management Officer Ms Anila Qehaja.