FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2017
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS GOVERNOR MAPP CALLS FOR ALL HANDS
ON DECK IN FACE OF LONG RECOVERY

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS - Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Kenneth E. Mapp is calling for “all hands on deck” as the Territory expands its recovery efforts following the passage of the second Category 5 hurricane to strike the islands in less than two weeks.

Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, Governor Mapp called for a united community effort to help rebuild the Territory following Wednesday morning’s arrival of Hurricane Maria, which significantly impacted St. Croix and worsened conditions in the hurricane-affected district of St. Thomas-St. John, which includes Water Island.

Based on the Governor’s aerial flyover of St. Croix earlier in the day, the western and southwestern portion of the island received the greatest damage from Maria’s forceful winds and water. Much of the island’s power distribution has been compromised.

The Governor reported that the Virgin Islands Port Authority believes the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix’s deep water, cruise ship facility, withstood the barrage of wind and storm surge. The condition of the island’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport is still being assessed, but the runway has been cleared.

The Governor expressed thanks to God for bringing the U.S. Virgin Islands through the potentially catastrophic weather event without any reported fatalities or significant number of people seeking medical assistance. “Given the amount of roofs blown off and scattered debris, you hunkered down and you hunkered down well,” he said.

The Territory’s leader called for selflessness, community cooperation and teamwork under newly announced curfew conditions that have been established in the interest of public safety.

Until further notice, a 24-hour curfew is in place for the district of St. Croix, while residents of the St. Thomas-St. John district are subject to a curfew between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. On Friday, September 22, the St. Croix curfew will be suspended between noon and 4 p.m. to allow for essential tasks such as refueling or picking up supplies from any of the four distribution centers or businesses that will be open on the island during that time.

The St. Croix distribution centers include Cotton Valley Fire Station, Juanita Gardine Elementary School, Alexander Henderson Elementary School and the St. Croix Educational Complex. Distribution centers in St. Thomas and St. John remain unchanged.

Fuel stations, pharmacies and other businesses - that have power, can operate safely and provide needed resources to residents - are permitted to open on St. Croix during the four-hour curfew suspension period. Governor Mapp stressed that any business operating in violation of the curfew will be subject to sanctions, including the loss of its license.

The Governor shared that he had thanked U.S. President Donald J. Trump for his administration’s support, and he conveyed the President’s best wishes to the people of the Virgin Islands. President Trump, who had planned to visit the Territory this week before his trip was postponed due to the storm, confirmed that the necessary federal resources will be extended for the recovery of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center in St. Croix has been breached, and efforts are underway to evacuate all patients from the facility to the U.S. mainland. Persons with special needs in shelters will be similarly evacuated. Approximately 600 individuals are currently being housed in shelters across the Territory.

William (Bill) Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region II, said urban search and rescue teams were expected Thursday night and progress continues with the Army Corps of Engineers on debris clearance. He reported that registration for disaster assistance is going well and residents can call 1 800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov to register. Residents applying for individual assistance will have 60 days from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance.

The Governor’s leadership team is working with airline and cruise line partners, including the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, to coordinate humanitarian or mercy missions to evacuate residents, primarily those who have medical or disability conditions.

Governor Mapp reminded his constituents: “It’s going to be a long road to recovery. It ain’t gonna happen overnight … it’s gonna be a long, long road and a long process … we have to prepare ourselves mentally, manage our expectations realistically and we will get through it.”

The Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands will continue to provide updates as they become available. Resources for information include:

Government House: informusvi.com
VITEMA: vialert.gov
The Department of Tourism: www.usviupdate.com
Emergency Operation Centers:
(340) 773-2244 (St. Croix)
(340) 776-2244 (St. John)
(340) 774-2244 (St. Thomas)



Government House | No. 21-22 Kongens Gade | 340 774-0001 | www.vi.gov
  
     
       For more information:
     Samuel Topp |  Deputy Director of Communications
     (340) 998-6658 |   samuel.topp@go.vi.gov