The Long Trench Community Centre, which was recently restored after sustaining major damage during Hurricane Irma, is expected to be used as a model for repairs to other centres across the territory that serve as emergency shelters, according to Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone.

“Repairs to the structure included replacement and sealing of sections of the roof, changing out of windows and doors, replacement of ceiling and kitchen cupboards, as well as the upgrade of all exterior and interior water and electricity fixtures and fittings to ones that promote conservation and make the operations of the facility more efficient,” Mr. Malone said in a press release. “The entire structure was cleaned of mould and all walls were re- paired and repainted. The generator housing was also upgraded and a new generator is on site to be installed.”

The repairs were funded in part by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, which provided $95,000 to fix damage and to upgrade the facility to meet the “Smart” safety and environmental standards promoted by the Pan American Health Organisation and the CDEMA Safer Building Programme.

The Long Trench facility is one of 10 government-owned centres under the management of the Ministry of Health and Social Development. Most of them are designed to operate as emergency shelters under the authority of the Disaster Management Act.

Mr. Malone said he hopes the CDEMA partnership will continue as the government works to repair more centres and other public buildings.
CDEMA Executive Director Ronald Jackson said such projects were implemented in several CDEMA participating states that were affected by the storms of 2017.

“We are so very pleased with the outcome of this project, but more so the fact that the expertise to undertake the works came from within the Virgin Islands,”he said. “The windows and doors were actually fabricated on Tortola and supplies were bought locally.”

During Irma, several residents huddled inside the Long Trench Community Centre as doors and windows blew out. At least one family had to take refuge in the bathroom shower.

After the storm, displaced residents lived there in spite of the missing doors and windows and other damage, and government reported last week that two families remain.