BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – Senior official suggests non-nationals leave

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A senior British Virgin Islands (BVI) government official is encouraging non-nationals who can’t find work after the damage caused by Hurricane Irma to leave the British Overseas Territory.

Vincent Wheatley, the Sister Islands Programme Coordinator in the Deputy Governor’s Office, made the call even as several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals, including those from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana, were among other non-BVI nationals being housed in a community centre that had been stripped of its roofing shingles.

The building is at risk of being flooded if it rains, as only the woodwork on the roof, which was damaged in some areas, are protecting the occupants of the shelters from the elements.

Wheatley said that about 100 people remain in shelters on the island, which has a population of 3,500, a large number of whom are expatriates.

A Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) team deployed to do a rapid needs assessment on Virgin Gorda on Tuesday found that between 70 and 80 percent of the housing stock was destroyed or damaged so badly that they are uninhabitable.

Wheatley said that so far, there have been daily evacuations mainly to America and European countries, through helicopter service and a boat service to Puerto Rico.

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