“The clean-up of Barbuda is well on the way.” The words of Trevor Browne, Senior Collections Manager at National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and the person in charge of Phase One of the clean-up operation on the sister island.
Browne was speaking as he and a large crew of workers returned to Antigua last evening after the first full day of the Barbuda clean-up.
Many of the workers assigned to Solid Waste were Barbudan council workers and Browne was full of praise for them. “They were enthusiastic and very eager to work. They took the lead in cleaning up the Hanna Thomas Hospital and the chainsaw operators were able to clear a good amount of the trees and branches. We had a good day today and tomorrow we should have a much better day.”
Browne also noted that fogging operations resumed and that Central Board of Health (CBH) Inspectors engaged in that activity remained on the island overnight. The fogging and the treatment of wells, cisterns, drums and stagnant water are having an impact and Browne expressed confidence that the mosquito problem will soon be neutralized.
The clean-up task force will begin to deal with the dead animals from today, Friday, September 22.
Yesterday, a dozen heavy-duty equipment including trucks, backhoes, front-end loaders and an excavator were shipped to Barbuda. Today, Friday, an additional six trucks, two more excavators and an extra backhoe and front-end loader will be transported via barge to the island.
It is expected that additional Barbudan council workers will travel to Barbuda today, bringing the total to at least seventy-five. They will continue to work alongside Solid Waste, Public Works, CBH and APUA to remove debris, downed power lines and cables, building and other forms of waste material scattered across the hurricane-battered island.
Minister of Health and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph, is appealing to all Barbudan owners and operators of heavy-duty equipment to come forward and participate in the cleanup process.
The Minister also made it clear that workers on the ground will not be permitted to enter the private residences of Barbudans.
Persons handling heavy duty equipment will be instructed on how best to handle items scattered around the island and which could be identified as personal property.
Minister Joseph is also asking Barbudan residents allowed to return home for a limited period to place items they want to be discarded outside their premises.
Meanwhile, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has set up a medical post in an area of the Hanna Thomas Hospital not damaged during the passage of Hurricane Irma. Head of the EMS, Shawn Greenidge said the medical unit is fully equipped with all the necessary medical supplies to tend to any emergency that may occur while workers are engaged in the clean-up operations.
The medical post will be manned by a supervisor and two medics; the team will rotate every five days and will operate on a 24 hour/7 day basis.
The Ministry of Health & the Environment continues to hold regular meetings with its senior officials and members of the Barbuda Council to carefully plan the logistics of the Barbuda clean-up operation.
The process is being ably assisted by Ugo Blanco, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Advisor.
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