British Virgin Islands


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HFA National Reports

National Report 2007: National Report on the Implementation of the HFA (2007) - British Virgin Islands

National Report 2006: National Report on the Implementation of the HFA (Updated 06th Feb..2006) - British Virgin Islands

National Report 2005:

National Report 2004: - National Report and Information Disaster for WCDR, 2004 - British Virgin Islands

National Platform

No National Platform reported

HFA National Focal Point

Department of Disaster Management (DDM)

Deputy Governor's Office

Address: #3 Wailing Road, MacNamara, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Zip Code: VG1120

Tel: (+284) 468-3701 / Fax:(+284)494-2024



Contact person:

Miss Sharleen DaBreo, Director

Tel : (+284) 468-3701 Ext. 4200, 468-4200 / Fax:(+284)494-2024


Alternative Contact:

Mr. Zebalon McLean, Deputy Director


Other contacts:

CDERA member:

Mr. Elton Georges, Chairman

National Emergency Advisory Council

Phone: (+284) 494-3701 / Fax: (+284) 494-6481


Ms. Sharleen DaBreo, Director

Department of Disaster Management (DDM)

Address: 3 Wailing Road, MacNamara Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Phone: (+284) 494-4499/468-3701 Ext. 4200 / Fax:(+284)494-2024



Disaster Auxiliary Corps:

Website: [ ]

PAHO/WHO Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries: Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, Caribbean Program Coordinator

Address: Dayrells and Navy Garden Roads, Christ Church, Bridgetown, Barbados / P.O. Box 508, Bridgetown, Barbados

Phone: (+1-246) 426-3860; 426-3865; 427-9434 / Fax: 436-9779


Website: [hptt:// hptt://]

Country profile:

Official name: British Virgin Islands

Capital: Road Town

Population: 22,187

Density: 107.8 people per sq km

Total area: 153 sq km

Languages: English

Religion: Protestant 86%, Roman Catholic 10%, other 4%

Ethnic Groups: black 83%, white, Indian, Asian and mixed

Government: Overseas territory of the UK, internal self-governing.

Currency: US Dollar

The British Virgin Islands are mainly dependent on international trade in tourist and financial services. Domestic food production satisfies less than 10% of demand. This makes the country's economy, like so many others in the Caribbean, extremely vulnerable to the impact of natural and man-made disasters. The islands are in zone 4 for earthquakes and are regularly being hit by major hurricanes.

Some of the major hurricanes of the last two decades were Klaus in 1984, which was highly destructive with damages of over $150 million, Hugo in 1989 and Louis and Marilyn in 1995. The latter three were all category 4 hurricanes. In 1999, hurricane Lenny was especially destructive and was subsequently followed by an assessment report focusing on lessons learned and recommendations on topics such as safe construction. Tropical storms hit regularly, and other hazards are earthquakes, floods and landslides.

The National Emergency Advisory Council (NDMC) is the policy-making body for disaster management in the British Virgin Islands. It is chaired by the Deputy Governor and is composed of heads of government organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and professional and technical officers. The council normally meets once per year and its main responsibility is the review and monitoring of the national strategy for dealing with disasters. It has thematic standing subcommittees on emergency operations and telecommunications, public education, transport and logistics, health disasters, welfare and food distribution, damage assessment and mitigation, administration and finance, and marine pollution.

A director heads the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), who in turn reports directly to the Deputy Governor. This disaster management department administers the components of the Disaster Management Program, which consists of mitigation and planning, training and research, community preparedness, public information, emergency telecommunications and recovery coordination. Under the component of mitigation and planning, assessments of various hazards are made to provide the public sector with the ability to develop appropriate mitigation strategies. A vulnerability assessment was conducted as part of the Hazard and Risk Assessment Project from 1995 to 1997. In addition, a Quantitative Risk Assessment Project will be completed in 2005. A Human Vulnerability Study includes a database of vulnerable persons and improved planning for response and relief directed at the vulnerable. The public sector agencies and individuals within the community are being seen as responsible for the implementation of hazard mitigation activities. In an effort to decentralise disaster planning into the communities, a network of Zonal Committees has been established. Workshops, seminars, radio and television programmes provide training for the public and private sector to enhance emergency planning efforts and the level of preparedness. A related program under the DDM is the Shelter Program which was launched in 1993 to encourage private organisations and firms to adopt and reconstruct emergency shelters. A Shelter Manual provides the guidelines for shelter construction and maintenance. Disaster management is incorporated into the curriculum at primary and secondary level. In 2000, a Disaster Management Program was incorporated into the course curriculum at the local community college. An Associate's Degree in Disaster Management and a Certificate of Achievement in Disaster Management can now be obtained. Graduates possessing either of these will be able to pursue a baccalaureate education in the British Virgin Islands or abroad.

Early warning systems include an emergency broadcast system, completed in 2003, which is linked to all radio and television stations, an outdoor warning siren completed in 2004, and an emergency telecommunications network. Public libraries and educational institutions have disaster related information on display.

The country's National Disaster Plan was passed in 1997, followed by a Disaster Management Act in 2003. The Emergency Powers (Disaster) Act has been operational since 1984. The Governor, as chairman of the National Disaster Management Council, has the power to activate this plan, and the Director of Disaster Management is then responsible for the overall coordination of all actors involved in the response.

Source: UN/ISDR The Americas


HFA P1 - Institutional and legal framework

Strengthening of the institutional disaster management at the national and local levels

HFA P2 - Risk identification and EWS:

The extensive early warning program in place since 1999 has been tested and maintained regularly by the department of disaster management

HFA P3 - Knowledge and education:

Public information & education, training and research programme in place. Formal science degrees in disaster management available at the local college. Very active public awareness campaign

HFA P4 - Risk applications:

The BVI’s mitigation and planning programme specifically aims at reducing vulnerability and risk factors

HFA P5 - Preparedness and response:

Contingency plans and emergency procedures are tested on an annual basis

Source: Based on national progress report for the Global Platform (Matrix Final.doc)

Others Documents:

Department of Disaster Management 2006 Work Plan

A Mitigation & Development Planning Framework. April, 2002

National Disaster Plan. November, 2002

Web Links:

PreventionWeb Country Profile - Natural Disaster - British Virgin Islands

Officila Website Government British Virgin Islands (U.K.)

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