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HURRICANE RECOVERY: Gov. Mapp’s Task Force Moves To St. Croix To Gain Input From Community

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CHRISTIANSTED — The Hurricane Recovery Taskforce, created by Gov. Kenneth Mapp, held its second community workshop on St. Croix on Monday, focusing on resilient and sustainable ways to rebuild the Territory following the devastating effects of the 2017 hurricane season.

“Continued input and feedback from experts and community stakeholders have been an integral part of our rebuilding efforts,” Mapp said. “We will continue to work with communities across the territory as we rebuild smarter and stronger.

The second workshop was held in the Bennie and Martha Benjamin Conference Center of the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital Cardiac Center in Christiansted, St. Croix. Participants included members of the V. I. Departments of Human Services and Health, private companies such as the Valance Co., Inc., and community and philanthropic groups such as the St. Croix Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Governor Mapp’s Taskforce Resiliency Workshop, in coordination with the St. Croix Recovery Planning Committee, are providing a roadmap for future substantial federal and territorial investments that are more resilient and beneficial to all residents,” said Jonathan Halfon, Community Planning and Capacity Building Regional Coordinator for FEMA Region 2.

Dr. Mark McGibbon, President and CEO of the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network, said that the workshop reflected the sense of community displayed throughout the territory as Virgin Islanders pulled together during and in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

A resiliency and sustainability workshop is planned on St. John for the week of April 16. Anyone interested in attending the upcoming workshop can contact the Task Force at for more information.

Mapp’s Hurricane Recovery Task Force will hold a meeting on March 28th. Created by Governor Mapp to help guide the Territory’s short- and long-term recovery following two Category 5 hurricanes, the task force is made up of local officials and community leaders as well as environmental experts and thought leaders from around the country. It is performing a quantitative assessment of the damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and outlining risks facing the USVI. The analysis will focus on future potential natural hazards looking ahead 30 years, including the impact of climate change.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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