Due to the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands, an advisory committee has been established to guide the reconstruction efforts. The committee is comprised of community members, local officials, thought leaders and environmental experts from all over the United States. The group will be assessing the damage caused by the hurricanes, making an outline of risk factors for additional disasters, and looking thirty years into the future. The chance that climate change may exacerbate the risks is being considered.
The group will help plan the economic and security recovery necessary for the long-term. The focus is being placed on the homes, infrastructures and businesses in the area. They plan to make these structures more resilient to any natural disasters or storms occurring in the future. The group is also attracting and leveraging the philanthropic, federal and private-sector funding along with the efforts of the volunteers. This includes implementing a plan for economic recovery focused on tourism.
The committee will additionally monitor how the funding from private donations and federal disaster assistance is distributed and spent. The ability to withstand disasters and natural hazards must be increased to prevent similar situations in the future. Experts are being gathered to assure the U.S. Virgin Islands are rebuilt as efficiently and quickly as possible. And great care is being taken to protect the area from future storms.
The committee consist of many experienced, knowledgeable and professional individuals with their fields. This includes the CEO of WICO, Clifford Graham who be the groups Chairman, Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the founder of Island Capital Group, Andrew Farkas. Additional committee members include Geri Purvis who has spent 15 years serving FEMA, the Buccaneer Hotel’s general manager Elizabeth Armstrong, Pace University’s visiting scholar Judith Enck, and the owner of the Royal Caribbean, Vivek Daswani.
Also serving the committee are Harriet Tregoning of HUD, Senator Novelle E. Francis, Jr., the USVI Department of Finance Commissioner Valdamier Collens, Anthony Hurley, the managing director of a firm for security risk management, the head of the Marjorie Rawls Roberts, P.C. law firm, Marjorie Roberts. Governor Kenneth E. Mapp’s Chief of Staff Eugene Farrell and the USVI Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
The final members of the committee include Daryl Griffith, John McInnis III, Hans Lawaetz and Basil Ottley. This committee will be placing their efforts on helping the U.S. Virgin Islands as quickly and efficiently as possible.