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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFEMA WANTS ST. CROIX TO BE DISASTER RESISTANT

FEMA WANTS ST. CROIX TO BE DISASTER RESISTANT

With the peak of hurricane season still ahead, St. Croix is on the way to becoming a "disaster-resistant" community, thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In a memorandum of agreement signed Wednesday by FEMA and the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, St. Croix will receive $300,000 to begin disaster-resistance planning as part of Project Impact. The program on St. Croix involves more than 60 businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies.
The aim of making communities disaster resistant is to change the way they deal with disasters by shifting the focus of emergency management from responding after the fact to taking action beforehand to reduce potential damage. The approach is often called mitigation.
"We have completed a number of mitigation projects on St. Croix since Hurricane Hugo," VITEMA state director Gene Walker said. "Joining the Project Impact family today will help further our efforts to protect the citizens of St. Croix…"
The $300,000 will go toward mitigation projects specifically for the island. They include:

  • A structural assessment of one of St. Croix’s primary shelters to identify, retrofit and begin non-structural mitigation measures for hurricanes and earthquakes. Information gathered will be used to determine appropriate structures for use as multi-hazard disaster facilities.
  • A mini-grant program to create incentives for local groups to identify risks and minimize possible damages from disasters. Partnerships will be formed between the private and public sectors to make the island more disaster resistant by using national and local resources to meet short- and long-term preparedness and response needs.
  • Utilization of the Geographic Information System. A comprehensive series of maps with corresponding databases of St. Croix will be developed to document improvements and track the progress of mitigation activities on the island.
  • Implementation of an island-wide educational campaign on the importance of natural hazard disaster mitigation and the significance of structural and non-structural measures. Three education projects will be developed, including a Family Disaster Resource Manual, an age-appropriate school-based curriculum and a Best Practices Mitigation Guidebook for builders.

"In the middle of hurricane season, St. Croix is continuing to reduce its disaster vulnerability with strong mitigation planning and implementation," FEMA Region 2 director Lynn Canton said. "I commend the residents of St. Croix for making the commitment to get the community and businesses working together to reduce the cost and consequences of disasters."

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