Hurricane season started June 1 and several senators expressed frustration about the lack of preparedness of government entities.
According to the news report, during a meeting of the Senate’s Government Operations, Consumer Affairs, Energy, Environment and Planning Committee, senators questioned several agencies as to whether they had prepared plans for how to deal with future disasters and found the answers unsatisfying. Only a couple agencies reported being prepared and had made improvements and plans.
The Health Department testifiers said while no current shelter for the mentally ill and homeless was procured. Sen. Steven D. Payne pointed out that Human Services has no current central data system in place for emergency shelters, which provide a means of reconnecting families. He asked, without a central data system, how will the department know how much staff is needed, how many supplies are needed, or how many children or seniors or disabled were within the shelters.
Sen. Oakland Benta said that the committee heard repetitive discussions: “...at the end of the day working on emergency preparedness and we are still at home plate. A lot of the things that should have been done are not done,” Sen. Oakland Benta said.
The panel was compromised of the following government agencies: V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, Department of Public Works, V.I. Water & Power Authority, V.I. Police Department, Department of Health, Department of Human Services and the Department of Licensing & Consumer Affairs.