After Hurricane Irma brutalized the British Virgin Islands, the despair was so complete in the sailing capital of the world that prisoners who escaped Her Majesty's Prison in Road Town decided to return. So did some other unpleasant guests, government officials are warning.
“Right now, our conditions are prime for the proliferation of rats,” Dr. Ronald Georges, the British territory’s top health officer, said Tuesday in an email statement. “Our food supply and houses are not secured, resulting in the rats moving closer and closer to our environment.”
The threat of leptospirosis is not limited in the BVI, Georges said.
“Puerto Rico has a number of suspected cases and the U.S. Virgin Islands has confirmed one case.”
The BVI, which houses the richest and most secretive bank accounts in the world, also continues to struggle for supplies along with the rest of the eastern Caribbean.
Among the relief agencies on the ground is ShelterBox.
“As well as BVI, ShelterBox is providing aid to Barbuda, Dominica and Dominican Republic,” ShelterBox spokesman Mark Nicholson said in an email. “Our teams were working on Barbados and Antigua when Hurricane Maria passed over and had to move and secure aid and seek shelter themselves.”
ShelterBox, a charity based in Cornwall, England, that works closely with Rotary Clubs, is providing specialized family-sized tents (top photo) for homeless islanders that include a mix of essential non-food items, including solar-powered lights, cooking and water purification sets, and activity kits for children, Nicholson said. Each tent costs roughly $1,000, including hand-delivery.
ShelterBox’s Facebook page, which includes a Sarasota address, says staff and volunteers have helped to shelter more than 1.1 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world since 2000.
“The hurricane can come in, it can knock down absolutely everything in its path but it cannot bow or bend the spirit of the British Virgin Islands,” a BVI resident said in a New York Times story.
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