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RFA Mounts Bay was helped out in the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. This year its regular civilian crew will be joined by 87 specialists

UK deploys experts to help with storm threats

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sep. 13, CMC  (Adapted) – The United Kingdom has deployed a team of specialists to the Caribbean to help mitigate the impact of impending storms threatening British Overseas territories.

According to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, 87 engineers, medics, maritime experts and other specialists have joined the regular crew of RFA Mounts Bay, which is the mobile hub of the British relief effort.

RFA Mounts Bay

He added that approximately 1,000 personnel are deployed or being held at high-readiness for if further storms head towards the region.

“I want to assure everyone in our Overseas Territories that our Armed Forces have been pre-positioned in the region and are absolutely prepared to help,” Williamson said. “We will be there to support during this hurricane season while still helping those whose lives were devastated by Irma and Maria to rebuild their lives and homes.”

Last September, several homes were  destroyed and infrastructure decimated when Hurricane Irma and Maria, two of the most powerful hurricanes for decades, hit the region back-to-back .

As well as being able to carry vital aid and equipment, RFA Mounts Bay will use the Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board to provide aerial support. RFA Mounts Bay is one of three Landing Ship Docks in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) troop, consisting of Royal Engineers from the British Army and Royal Marines, have been training with their French counterparts in Martinique to ensure they are fully prepared.

This training is part of a six-month deployment to the region for hurricane season, while RFA Mounts Bay also carried out a significant HADR exercise in July.

Some islands are expected to be impacted by Tropical Storm Issac on Thursday, raising concerns about the physical damage it could wreak.

RFA Mounts Bay was helped out in the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma. This year its regular civilian crew will be joined by 87 specialists
 
The RFA Mounts Bay visted Montserrat on Friday after the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac from 12 p.m. on Friday September 14. A release from the Governor’s office had advised: “The officials from the ship will be meeting with local stakeholders and members of the MOD who are currently on island a part of the UK’s Hurricane response efforts to the region. The media are ‘united’ (invited) to a huddle with officials at Little Bay playing field before the departure of Mounts Bay. This is scheduled from 14.30 to 15.00 pm. 
 
From RFA Mounts Bay Retweets, following the visit
 

BrigJohnRidge

BrigJohnRidge
 
@BrigJohnRidge
 
Mounts Bay tweeted: The Montserrat JFHQ team carrying out a last minute check on the turtles at the sanctuary and the full Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team back in the UK ready for whatever we are asked to do next. It was great to see the people of#Montserrat again today. A fleeting visit whilst MNTS is in the area on standby during this Core Hurricane Season. MNTS has now resumed our previous tasking however will remain in striking distance the OTs until November.
Below are some images of the visit
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnEmxJdWwAIL7AH.jpghttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnEmxJoX4AEYsB0.jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnEmxJYXsAAOJ7L.jpg

BrigJohnRidge
BrigJohnRidge
 
@BrigJohnRidge
 

Captain and

@CommandoCaribb1

from

@RFAMountsBay

visiting

@UKinMontserrat

Deputy Premier, Director of Disaster Management and other representatives of #Montserrat Goverment

 

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TS Isaac - Image 2018-09-13 at 12.37.52 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac closes down Montserrat?

NOTICE

Cabinet has taken a decision to close all schools and government offices at 12 noon today for the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac. The private sector is also encouraged to close their businesses at 12 noon today as well, especially those with parents who have school-aged children.

According to Major Alvin Ryan, Interim Director at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), although, tropical storm conditions on Montserrat are not expected to get significantly worst, they are not anticipated to improve before 3 pm today and significant rainfall activity is forecast for this afternoon. Therefore, Mr Ryan says to err on the side of caution, all schools, government offices be closed at mid-day and the private sector is encouraged to do likewise.

By B. Roach

As The Montserrat Reporter is not obliged to carry ‘notices’ provided to us merely as information with no request for ‘paid’ publication which then obliges us, we cannot help but editorialise on what we consider to be poor decisions made without due regard for the economic status of the country. We of course regard this merely as a Notice to us, not otherwise, but find it aggravating. Oh for several reasons, not all mentioned here!

The very nature of the NDPRAC statement outlining the status of TS (Tropical Storm) Isaac suggests “to err on the side of caution’ is very questionable as to the understanding of the information available from all sorts of sources.

Along with what they are saying, for those concerned a constant look at the www.themontserratreporter.com does provide simple guide and information to the weather status affecting Montserrat from www.AccuWeather.com. We use also additional sources. There you will find hourly weather situations. E.g. Today, unlike earlier in the forecasts which promised possible thunderstorms etc. it shows showers and cloudy conditions from time to time into the evening. Tomorrow a national day of mourning , the passing of former CM Bertrand Osborne – is a holiday.

The question when all other circumstances, including ‘official’ forecasts should this encourage our government to take a decision to close down the country for the rest of the day, when the possible worst would have past. (See diagrams here).

current information:

Center location already west of the most affected islands, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe

TS Isaac – Image 2018-09-13 at 12.37.52 PM – (See Montserrat outside the ball of activity!

These decisions are so symptomatic of the miserable state Montserrat has evolved into the over the past several years. Unfortunately, we see this situation as continuing for some time, throughout this decade, already too long especially as one listens to the ongoing discussions regarding an inquiry invoked by the UK Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) into the UK’s future relationship with the OT’s. We will later inform of some 11-year-olds opinion on the matter.

And also the ill-advised and misguided, unprepared and bad futuristic calls being made these days.

l8r…

 

 

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Isaac forecast 2015-09-13 (THURSDAY) at 2.00 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac (Update)

by Bennette Roach

TS Isaac Image 2018-09-12

Isaac forecast 2015-09-13 (THURSDAY) at 2.00 PM

The National Disaster Preparedness Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) met today, Tuesday September 11th, 2018 to review Montserrat’s preparedness for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles late on Wednesday night, (chain of Islands from Grenada north to the BVI).

In a release from the NDPRAC it says: “The Antigua Meteorological Service (with responsibility for Montserrat) has placed Montserrat on a Tropical Storm Watch and expects the island to be affected by tropical storm force winds.”

“NDPRAC notes that there will be no air and sea access to and from Montserrat on Thursday, September 13th, 2018. Air access is expected to resume on Friday September 14th, 2018, weather permitting, whilst ferry operations are expected to resume on Saturday September 15th, 2018.”

Meanwhile, NDPRAC NDPRAC continues to advise that all residents and visitors secure their properties, businesses and livestock in preparation for the impending storm.

A further update is expected later today when from sources, it is expected they will advise a further downgrading of the storm, but no doubt plans except for schools, government buildings etc. will be firmly determined.

Funeral services for Bertrand Osborne

Meanwhile, funeral and burial plans for Hon. Bertrand Osborne former Chief Minister have been postponed to Saturday.

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IsaacDowngraded

IsaacDowngraded

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 11, CMC – Hurricane Isaac was inching its way towards the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday after losing steam and downgraded to a strong tropical storm over the Central tropical Atlantic.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that the storm, located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 48.1 West, has sustained maximum winds of 70 miles per hour (mph) and was about 880 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

“Isaac is moving towards the west near 14 mph.  This general motion is expected to continue through the end of the week. On the forecast track, Isaac should move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday,” the NHC said.

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WhatsApp Image 2018-09-10 at 8.53.01 PM

Hurricane Isaac 2018 update: Still a Category 1 on path for Caribbean

A toss up – as to which way a curve away from the Islands or a weakening by time it gets to the Islands. Either way the authorities are cautioning “Be Prepared’.
 
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)

Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal hurricane on Monday afternoon and continued to track westward on a path that could bring it across the Lesser Antilles by Thursday.

And if that wasn’t enough the National Hurricane Center is also watching a disturbance already in the Caribbean that could become a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

But first Isaac. As of 4 p.m. CDT Monday, Hurricane Isaac was located about 1,090 miles east of the Winward Islands and was moving west at 14 mph.

Isaac maintained winds of 75 mph, making it a minimal Category 1 hurricane.

While Isaac hasn’t gained any strength today that could change over the next day or two. Forecasters said Monday afternoon that they weren’t sure why Isaac hasn’t intensified yet.

The hurricane center said weakening should begin by the middle of the week as Isaac nears the Lesser Antilles.

The hurricane center thinks, however, that Isaac will be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the islands.

Isaac is forecast to continue moving west and pick up a bit of speed through the end of the week.

On that path it will move across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. The hurricane center said watches may be needed for the islands on Tuesday.

However, the hurricane center noted that confidence in Isaac’s track forecast is on the low side.

That’s because forecast models are split into two factions on its path.

One set of models suggests Isaac could recurve near or east of the Lesser Antilles and miss the islands all together.

However some of the more reliable models show a consistent westward motion across the islands and into the eastern Caribbean.

The hurricane center is sticking with the westward path for now but added a disclaimer: “Given the spread in the guidance, the confidence in the details of the track forecast beyond the first couple of days is larger than usual.”

Isaac is a small storm, and its strongest winds extend out from the center only about 10 miles.

The hurricane center said the intensity forecast is also difficult.

Storms that small are notoriously challenging to predict because they are more susceptible to environmental changes around them.

Models are also disagree on how how strong — or weak — Isaac will be.

Some models suggest Isaac will steadily weaken as it encounters wind shear in a few days. But yet another one shows Isaac becoming a major hurricane.

Isaac is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic on Monday.

There’s also Florence, which is a Category 4 as of Monday afternoon and forecast to strike the U.S. as a major hurricane this week, and Category 2 Helene, which is in the far eastern Atlantic and not forecast to affect land.

The hurricane center is also watching a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean that could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.

The hurricane center raised the odds of development to 50 percent on Monday afternoon and said a tropical depression could form Thursday or Friday in the western Gulf.

It was forecast to stay on a west-northwest to northwest path.

The hurricane center warned those along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to northeastern Mexico to keep an eye on the system.

In addition to Hurricanes Florence, Helene and Isaac there are two tropical disturbances being monitored by the hurricane center. The one in the northwest Caribbean could become a tropical depression by Thursday or Friday. (NHC)

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WhatsApp Image 2018-09-09 at 7.52.14 PM

Tropical storm Isaac now a hurricane as it heads towards the Caribbean

So now a Hurricane Isaac demanding some attention…Montserrat!
Update: Now a Cat 1 hurricane out there East of Montserrat and the chain (Grenada – BVI) – no change and it will smack us Thursday-Friday. Meanwhile Florence well north of the chain roars on to the US eastern mainland also by Friday at Cat 3

0

By Caribbean News Now contributor

MIAMI, USA — At 5:00 pm EDT on Sunday, the centre of Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 1,390 miles (2,240 km) east of the Windward Islands, moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) and is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday night.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, the westward motion is forecast to continue through the end of the week and accelerate during the next 36 hours, with Isaac expected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Wednesday night or Thursday.

 

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast, but weakening is anticipated to begin by the middle of the week as Isaac approaches the Lesser Antilles.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the centre.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Florence, which is about 720 miles (1,160 km) southeast of Bermuda and about 580 miles (935 km) northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, is forecast to become a major hurricane on Monday.

However, on the forecast track, the centre of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and The Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Aircraft and satellite data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). Florence is forecast to become larger over the next few days.

Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical Storm Helene also became a hurricane on Sunday but is expected to remain over open water in the Atlantic as it continues to move away from the Cabo Verde Islands.

Finally, a combination of an upper-level trough and a tropical wave over the northwestern Caribbean Sea is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms between Cuba and Honduras.

Upper-level winds could become somewhat more conducive for some development in a couple of days while the system moves slowly west-northwestward or northwestward.

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Mark Lancaster poses with the crew of RFA Mounts Bay after watching a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise on the small volcanic island of Montserrat.

UK Armed Forces on high alert for hurricane season

News story

The UK’s Overseas Territories will have unwavering military support throughout the 2018 hurricane season, a Defence minister has confirmed.

Mark Lancaster poses with the crew of RFA Mounts Bay after watching a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise on the small volcanic island of Montserrat.
Mark Lancaster poses with the crew of RFA Mounts Bay after watching a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise on the small volcanic island of Montserrat. Crown copyright.

British residents were killed, homes were destroyed and infrastructure was decimated when Irma and Maria, two of the most powerful hurricanes for decades, smashed through the region back-to-back in September 2017.

Mark Lancaster visited Barbados, Antigua and Montserrat this week to reassure locals that the Ministry of Defence is supporting other Government departments to ensure that similar devastation is not repeated.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said:

No matter what the elements throw at our Overseas Territories this year, we will be there to help them every step of the way throughout 2018 and beyond. We may not be able to prevent natural disasters from occurring, but our world-class military have been planning meticulously to ensure lives are protected and damage is kept to a minimum.

Our citizens in the Caribbean have already shown incredible resilience over the last year and we are determined that when this difficult period is over their local facilities are in a better state than they were before.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay will act as the hub of the UK’s response, and the minister was able to see a demonstration of her amphibious capabilities while in Montserrat.

Fleet Auxiliary vessel MOUNTS BAY and her crew conducting a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise in Montserrat.
Fleet Auxiliary vessel MOUNTS BAY and her crew conducting a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise in Montserrat. Crown copyright.

As well as being able to carry vital aid and equipment, RFA Mounts Bay also has the latest Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board to provide aerial support. There is also a medical facility on board, with 10 patient beds for anyone who suffers serious injuries or illness.

The visit also provided an opportunity for Mr Lancaster to speak to island governors and residents about their needs as they continue to recover from last year’s hurricanes.

As well as preparing for this year, RFA Mounts Bay has been in the region since Irma struck and will remain there until 2020 to help restore the islands to normal.

A Wildcat helicopter takes off from RFA Mounts Bay during the Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise
A Wildcat helicopter takes off from RFA Mounts Bay during the Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise. Crown copyright.

The Government has already committed £142million to support the recovery effort in the affected territories, as well as £300million of UK loan guarantees.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon is currently visiting the British Virgin Islands, which suffered extensive damage, as the Government continues its preparations for 2018.

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UK Foreign Office Minister for Overseas Territories to visit BVI

UK Foreign Office Minister for Overseas Territories to visit BVI

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jul. 29,   CMC – The United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad, of Wimbledon will visit the territory between July 31 and August 1 to discuss hurricane preparedness and view progress on recovery.

Lord Tariq Ahmad

As part of his two-day visit, the government  says that Lord Ahmad and Premier Dr.   Orlando Smith will visit a number of public sites affected by last year’s hurricanes.

During his visit, Lord Ahmad will be updated on the how the UK’s support is helping recovery efforts and will officially hand over the new purpose-built temporary Court House to the Government.

This court house will allow the Supreme Court and Magistrates’ Court to “function fully while a permanent building is constructed,” the statement said.

  Lord Ahmad will also visit the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, which will remain in the region throughout the hurricane season to provide rapid assistance to islands, if needed.

RFA is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the UK’s Ministry of Defense, whose purpose is to support the Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world.

The BVI Government said Lord Ahmad will meet with the Board of the Recovery and Development Agency “to be updated on their progress and efforts to deliver the six-month accelerated plan ahead of endorsement of the longer term Recovery and Development Plan by the House of Assembly.”

“The UK has played a critical role in assisting the region to recover from last year’s unprecedented and devastating hurricanes, providing aid and support to help British Overseas Territories,” said Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, ahead of the BVI visit. “However, I know there is still more to be done before the islands are fully recovered, and the UK stands ready to help.

“We are already working with partners across the Caribbean to make sure plans are being put in place to prepare for future hurricanes, so we do not see a repeat of last year’s destruction,” he added.

The BVI Government said Lord Ahmad will also “seek to address concerns about the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act when he meets with Premier Smith and the Cabinet.”

In addition, Lord Ahmad will meet with members of the financial services industry, and business and tourism representatives.

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DSC_8268

RFA Mounts Bay visits to provide support in the event of hurricanes

During the media visit aboard the British naval ship RFA Mounts Bay which last year was very involved in rescues and support to Anguilla and British Virgin Islands during the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the commanding officer of the has assured Montserrat that it is capable of giving assistance in hurricane and disaster relief.

On Wednesday, hearing from the reporters that Montserrat is normally the first in line of hurricanes coming out of the east, Captain Peter Selby told reporters that the ship can be in Montserrat within twelve hours after a hurricane strikes. He emphasized that part of their response is to restore critical services.

Portrait of Captain Peter Selby RFA
Portrait of Captain Selby RFA, Taken aboard the bridge on RFA Mounts Bay

“My vessel has a number of capabilities which can assist the U.K.’s overseas territories in hurricane and disaster relief. I have a team of Royal engineers with prompt earth moving equipment. I have a shelter kits, lorries, motorbikes,” adding, I have skilled engineers on board who are all capable of providing a blue light emergency response to any natural disaster.”

The captain explains that by blue light, “I mean we aim to be here within twelve hours of a hurricane passing through and would remain in the area for around 48 hours in order to provide you with a first line of Disaster Response, to enable you to restore all of critical services such as electricity, treat any casualties that you may have.

He said the ship has, “a fully equipped hospital on board with a medical team on standby in the U.K., to come and assist my core medical team of some four personnel.”

The ship which arrived the same day, Wednesday and the captain had said they will engage in a number of activities to include an emergency response exercise at Little Bay, training, and an Agricultural survey.

On Thursday, the ship hosted a reception on board in the evening during which the UK Right Honourable Mark Lancaster MP, who began a one-day visit on Thursday morning presented awards to several of the ship’s men.

Click to see pictures 

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European Union steps up support for Caribbean countries

European Union steps up support for Caribbean countries

BRUSSELS, Jul. 17, CMC – The European Union on Tuesday signed three new agreements with St. Lucia, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda,to support post-hurricane recovery and reconstructions efforts.

The agreements were signed on the margins of the second EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Foreign Ministers meeting. 

They were signed by Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs of Dominica, Francine Baron, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of St Lucia representing CARIFORUM, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun and Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, Karen-Mae Hill .

The financing agreements amount to €30 million.

Some countries in the Caribbean  were everely impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year .

In the case of Dominica, damages and losses were calculated at 226 per cent of GDP, while the destruction on the island of Barbuda resulted in the evacuation of the entire population to Antigua.

The €11 million programme for Dominica will support the implementation of the national recovery plan through budget support.

The €5 million programme for Antigua and Barbuda aims to support housing reconstruction for low-income families and the €14 million programme with CARIFORUM will support the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) in further enhancing the region’s disaster preparedness and response capacity.

The three programmes are part of a larger package of €74 million adopted this week.

The package that will support the  region to “build-back-better” and promote resilience vis-à-vis future natural hazards, follows from the pledge made by the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, at the CARICOM-UN high level conference in New York in November 2017.

Manservisi also signed the Addendum to the National Indicative Programme for Jamaica following the mid-term review, with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith.

The additional €20 million will target initiatives in the area of citizen security.

Meanwhile,  a €15 million disbursement on the sugar programme for Jamaica was agreed.

This payment was made in recognition of the progress made by the Jamaican Government in the transformation of the sugar industry over the past ten years.

Jamaica’s sugar sector has transformed to become more competitive, increasing productivity and environmental sustainability, whilst supporting young people and social challenges in sugar-dependant areas.

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