Monday 15th September 2008 – In response to Hurricane Ike and its impact on the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), BVI Department of Disaster Management officials have been deployed to that affected Territory to lend assistance to the ongoing relief efforts.

Director Sharleen DaBreo, accompanied by another staff member, Mr. Cecil Jeffrey, will arrive in TCI later this afternoon to join the Regional Response Team to provide post operational assessment and support to the Emergency Operation Center.  The deployment period is expected to last one week and the efforts will focus primarily on Grand Turk and South Caicos, the two islands hit hardest by Hurricane Ike.

The TCI Government has declared a State of Emergency for these two islands, thereby allowing regional and international relief support to be launched. Reports coming out from TCI indicate extensive damage to housing and infrastructure. Disaster Assessment Teams are on the ground conducting detailed studies of the impact and are expected to identify priority needs shortly.

The HMS Iron Duke, which was rerouted from a planned visit to the BVI, has been supporting the response and relief efforts since September 7, 2008.
Additionally, the Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Cooperation (CARILEC) has offered to support restoration of electricity services.  Other response members from the CDERA mechanism have been on the ground since last week assisting with relief operations.

During the current Hurricane Season, several Caribbean territories have been affected by hurricanes and other tropical weather systems. These systems have affected not only TCI but also Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas. We are presently in the peak of the Hurricane Season; historically, the month of September is the most active month of the Season.

Ms. DaBreo, a member of the CDERA Regional Response Team, is also trained to provide assistance to affected countries as part of the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) Team and the PAHO Disaster Management Advisory Group. Mr. Jeffrey, a trained PAHO instructor in the Logistical Supply System, was deployed to Jamaica and Grenada after the impact of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.