Hazard Management Cayman Islands has sent Danielle Coleman, the agency’s deputy director of preparedness and planning, to the British Virgin Islands to assist with aid efforts. Ms. Coleman will assist the BVI Red Cross and BVI Department of Disaster Management in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Ms. Coleman flew to BVI on Friday and is expected to stay there a month, according to a press release. She was tabbed for the mission following an official request from the Red Cross to the Cayman Islands government.

In a request to the Cayman Islands government, Kevin Studds, country manager of the overseas branches of the British Red Cross, said, “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. I am reaching out to ask whether you would be able to further extend that solidarity by kindly considering whether a member of the Hazard Management, Danielle Coleman, could be released temporarily to be deployed to the British Virgin Islands to support the relief efforts there.”

Ms. Coleman worked for the Cayman Islands Red Cross for five years and worked closely with colleagues in other British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean. Ms. Coleman 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 Hazard Management Cayman Islands, 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.”

Ms. Coleman is expected to work in damage assessment in communities, aid distribution and coordinating with other emergency relief organizations. Ms. Coleman contributed to the Cayman Islands government’s response and recovery following Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and she undertook recovery work in Thailand for six months following the Indian Ocean tsunami later that year.

This Sept. 16 photo shows storm damage to the Biras Creek Resort in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. – PHOTO: Guillermo Houwer via AP

“I am really honoured and humbled to have been selected for this deployment by the British and BVI Red Cross,” she said in the press release. “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.

“I am very pleased that Ms. Coleman is going to help our neighbours-in-need in the British Virgin Islands,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin in the release. “Ms. Coleman is experienced in disaster relief and we are proud that she has been called upon to assist during this urgent situation.”

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