When the next flood comes, the Sea Cows Bay community will be better prepared thanks to a project launched there last Thursday, officials said.

During a June 7 community meeting at the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, residents were introduced to the SMART Communities project and learned ways to mitigate flooding using safe, green and healthy techniques, according to Government Information Services.

“This project is not about introducing new technologies,” said Sharleen DaBreo, the director of the Department of Disaster Management. “It is about taking simple methods and getting members of the community to work with non-governmental organisations that are not technical agencies to be able to apply soft engineering techniques to help reduce flooding.”

Ms. DaBreo added that the project is designed in part to facilitate discussions about flood-related issues in the community.

“It allows residents to tell us more about the events that they went through — about your experience in responding to the flood events, what the level of the water was during these events, how it impacted your home — and for us to be able to use that information to come up with simple activities that the community, alongside the [non-governmental organisations], can implement to reduce the impacts of flooding in the community,” she said.


NGO partners

The meeting was facilitated by the BVI Red Cross, the territory’s Rotary clubs, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency through an “NGO-partnership approach” in collaboration with DDM, according to GIS.

ADRA Director Jacob Adolphus urged attendees to take part in upcoming community cleanup activities.

The non-profit Green VI also attended, as did VI Plastics and Green and Clean, which shared information on recycling projects that have included the placement of recycling bins at schools, according to GIS.

Other plans for Sea Cows Bay include surveying ghuts; installing sedimentation traps and signage at points of interest; replanting and labelling trees; and revitalising the Community Emergency Response Team.

First-aid certification is also in the works, as is the installation of a siren and hazard-monitoring equipment, as well as repairs to the community centre and school, according to GIS.