HMCI Deputy Assisting BVI
Published 25th September 2017, 9:45am
Danielle Coleman, the Deputy Director of Preparedness and Planning with Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), is being deployed to the British Virgin Islands to help with aid efforts. She will assist the BVI Red Cross and the BVI Department of Disaster Management following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
Ms Coleman flew to the devastated territory on Friday, 22 September 2017 for a month, following an official request from the Red Cross to the Cayman Islands Government. “Through our conversation with the Cayman Islands Red Cross we are aware of the tremendous support and solidarity the Government of the Cayman Islands has shown towards the people of Anguilla,” said Kevin Studds, Country Manager of the Overseas Branches of the British Red Cross, who made the appeal on behalf of the BVI branch. “I am reaching out to ask whether you would be able to further extend that solidarity by kindly considering whether a member of the HMCI team, Danielle Coleman, could be released temporarily to be deployed to the British Virgin Islands to support the relief efforts there.”
Ms Coleman has considerable experience in disaster relief operations, having worked for Cayman Islands Red Cross for five years, liaising closely with colleagues in other British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean. She is also a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross’s Emergency Response Unit (logistics), the Americas Regional Intervention team, and a trainer for both community based psychosocial support and the National Intervention team. She has also undergone significant training in shelter and security management. “Given her current role at HMCI, she also has an understanding of the workings of a national disaster management office, which will be important in order to support the BVI Department of Disaster Management to the best effect,” said Mr. Studds. “She knows the staff and volunteers of the BVI Red Cross well, and would integrate seamlessly, which is so important in the current context, when time is of the essence.”
In 2004, Ms Coleman contributed to the Cayman Islands Government’s response and recovery following Hurricane Ivan, and undertook recovery work in Thailand for six months following the Indian Ocean tsunami later that year. “I am really honoured and humbled to have been selected for this deployment by the British and BVI Red Cross,” she said. “Having worked with the overseas branches of the Red Cross for several years, I look forward to assisting them and the BVI Government with the response and recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. I strongly believe that such experience can not only help BVI but also our own response-capacity in the future here in the Cayman Islands.”
Ms Coleman’s role in BVI is expected to include damage assessment in communities, aid distribution and coordinating with other emergency relief stakeholders. “I am very pleased that Ms Coleman is going to help our neighbours-in-need in the British Virgin Islands,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin. “Ms Coleman is experienced in disaster relief and we are proud that she has been called upon to assist during this urgent situation.”
Mr. McLaughlin led a humanitarian mission to Anguilla last week on a flight carrying emergency supplies, medical workers and other emergency personnel to help the hurricane-ravaged island. "In addition to providing critical support to BVI at this time, the practical experience to be gained by Ms. Coleman is a tremendous opportunity for Hazard Management Cayman Islands," said Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Home Affairs. "This experience will assist in the development of our own capacity to manage during the aftermath of such natural disasters should the need arise."
Director of Hazard Management McCleary Frederick also travelled with the aid mission to Anguilla and is expected to return on 26 September. Lee Madison, Deputy Director of Communications and Operations will take the helm until his return. In other aid efforts, the Cayman Islands has sent a team from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to BVI, while the police helicopter was also dispatched to hurricane-hit Turks and Caicos Islands. In addition, linesmen from Caribbean Utilities Company have been deployed to TCI to help restore electricity.