With heavy rains inundating the territory the past few days and another storm or even two heading our way, the many people on St. Thomas and St. John with damaged roofs on their homes and businesses have been heading to distribution points — and finding no tarps. Sometimes they find no food either. Expected tarps have not arrived yet and all the tarps have been distributed.
Friday afternoon, Source publisher Shaun Pennington went to the Dorothea distribution center and found they were out of food and tarps and were only distributing water and mosquito repellent.
“The question everyone was asking was where are the tarps? One of the fire service men at the site said “we need them too,” sweeping his hand toward the (fire station) building,” Pennington said, adding that it was unclear if he meant Fire Service personnel needed them for their homes or for the fire station.
Someone with a loudspeaker drove through the Hull Bay Neighborhood at 10:30 a.m Saturday announcing that VITEMA would be distributing supplies from noon to 5 p.m. at the following locations: Bordeaux Fire Station, Ft. Christian Parking Lot, Tutu Fire Station, Dorothea Fire Station, Hotel Company Fire Station, by Charlotte Amalie High School and Kirwan Terrace Ball Park, while supplies last. What was not part of the announcement, is what exactly those supplies would be.
The weather is a concern.
“There are two storms coming to bring rain to the territory within days and people don’t have any protection from that,” Pennington said.
On St. Amy Roberts on St. John reported that no tarps came at all until the sixth day after the storm, then something like 200 tarps were distributed. Tarps have gone up on some commercial buildings and on Saturday morning she reported no tarps were being distributed at Julius Sprauve Elementary. She was told the Army Corps of Engineers was driving around putting them up but they would not be distributed.
At his Friday update, Gov. Kenneth Mapp a shipment of 13,000 roof tarps was being off-loaded for delivery to points of distribution on Saturday and that crews will begin house-to-house roof cover installations.
But Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter announced on the radio Saturday morning that the expected tarps have not arrived. He said they are expecting them to day but they have not seen them yet.
Nykole Tyson with Emergency Operations Command confirmed around noon Saturday that “all the tarps that were in the territory have been distributed. More tarps have been ordered and are on their way.”