ROAD TOWN, British Virgin Islands, Wednesday August 28, 2019 – A 16-hour curfew has been declared in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) as Hurricane Dorian bears down on the territory.
The curfew was declared by Governor Augustus Jaspert this morning when Dorian was still a tropical storm. The British Overseas Territory had already started experiencing some of the effects from the outer bands of Dorian and was under hurricane warning, which meant that hurricane conditions were expected within 24 hours.
“I strongly urge all residents to now stay off the roads for non-essential traffic. To ensure residents’ safety during the height of the storm a curfew will be in place and will be enforced beginning at 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning, or until an all-clear is issued by the proper authorities. Only essential personnel should be on the roads,” he announced.
“We are now bracing for the likelihood that the eye of Dorian may pass between the BVI and the USVI, with northeastern quadrant of the storm passing directly over the Virgin Islands, bringing hurricane-force winds. It is therefore a real threat to the Territory, especially for those persons who may still be in vulnerable homes.”
Governor Jaspert advised residents in those vulnerable locations to utilize their shutters where possible and take all precautions to secure their homes.
The National Emergency Operations Centre also opened select emergency shelters in Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Long Trench and Tortola.
“I want to assure you that the authorities are undertaking all necessary precautions to safeguard the people of the Territory. We continue to analyse all the forecasts and are responding to this rapidly changing system,” the Governor said.
The National Emergency Operating Centre (NEOC) had earlier in the morning been activated, and the Governor said that mechanism would provide a central point for the coordination of response actions.
“Heads of agencies and departments have been overseeing the process of securing government assets and putting their essential staff and equipment in communities in place for any responses that may be needed. Other public servants have been asked to remain home, with non-essential government offices closed for the day,” he said.
“The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force patrols are operating across all locations and will remain on patrol unless conditions become unsafe to do so, at which point they will take up holding positions in pre-determined locations. Residents should have completed their preparations and should refrain from being on the road at this time. Police officers will enforce the curfew from 2 p.m. today and we ask the public for their full cooperation.
“I would strongly encourage the private sector to prioritize the safety and security of their businesses and staff, and ask that they close operations immediately,” he added.
In a message to residents, Premier Andrew Fahie joined the Governor in encouraging the business community and residents to remain off the road for their own safety.
At 2 p.m., the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said Dorian’s winds had increased to near 75 miles per hour and it was forecast to continue strengthening during the next few days over the Atlantic waters.
Dorian was located west of St Thomas, USVI and was moving to the northwest at 13 miles per hour.