ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The Hurricane Recovery and Resilience Task Force has held its first three community meetings on St. Croix as part of Governor Kenneth E. Mapp’s promise to ensure public input in plans for the long-term rebuilding of the Territory.
More than 50 participants came to each of the St. Croix meetings on April 16 at UVI’s Great Hall, April 17 at the Friedensberg Moravian Church and April 18 at Canegata Ballpark. Representatives from the Red Cross, FEMA, and the VIHFA Emergency Home Repairs program also set up resource tables to provide access to applications and other materials to assist in relief efforts.
The April 17 meeting was hosted by Rev. Dr. Dion Christopher, Pastor of Friedensberg Moravian Church and Chaplain of the Virgin Islands National Guard and Rev. Eulencine Christopher, Superintendent of the Moravian Churches in the Virgin Islands. Each emphasized the importance of recovery as a community-centered effort.
“The Virgin Islands community is a resilient community, but sometimes we take that resilience for granted,” said Rev. Eulencine Christopher. “As we seek to recover from Irma and Maria, it is the people in the community who endured it all. Their voices must be heard and their contribution is paramount as we recover and seek to be prepared for what lies ahead.”
The Mapp-Potter Administration remains committed to engaging local residents in the long-term plan to rebuild the USVI in a stronger and more resilient way. Governor Mapp created the task force in October to guide reconstruction and resiliency efforts after the devastating 2017 hurricane season. The Task Force is in the process of performing a qualitative and quantitative assessment of hurricane damages and will further outline future potential risks from natural hazards, including the unique risks brought on by climate change.
“We have funding coming into the Territory and we want to ensure that we spend those dollars wisely so we can rebuild a more resilient U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Dina Leroy, CEO of the Governor’s Hurricane Task Force.
Meeting attendees provided project recommendations on hurricane recovery issues such as housing, health, economy and education. These recommendations will inform a future roadmap so that the projects being funded take into account community needs.
“The goal of the meetings was to engage St. Croix residents in the long-term recovery process. We wanted to ensure that they have a voice in shaping their own future,” said Jessie Huddleston, FEMA Community Planner.
The next community meeting will be held on St. John at Julius E. Sprauve School’s Auditorium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 24th.
Visit our calendar for more details on tomorrow’s meeting.