Stay at home, help save lives and help the NHS: COVID-19 advice and information.

Island help project becomes live mission for Wiltshire charity

Island help project becomes live mission for Wiltshire charity

Published by Jack Deery at 7:58am 22nd March 2020.

3 minute read

Serve On's trip to the British Virgin Islands to install a radio system has become more urgent because of coronavirus.

The emergency response charity, based in Chilmark, flew out across the Atlantic to the island of Virgin Gorda a week ago to help improve the country's communications systems. 

They first arrived in the country in 2017, after it was hit by Hurricane Irma, and they have found some islanders still struggling.

Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak beginning to take hold out there, their visit has been turned into a live mission with the installation of a radio system being needed more than first thought. 

Serve on trip to British Virgin Islands
Their trip to install some radio equipment has taken a slight turn!

The first wave of four Serve On volunteers left on the 12th March, and with the second wave unable to get there due to the pandemic, they were now facing a double workload. 

No sooner than the team had enabled digital radio communications across the entire island and neighbouring settlements, and begun to provide an emergency FM radio system in case of future hurricanes, than the local authorities were keen to use them for public awareness broadcasts.

Serve on trip to British Virgin Islands
The authorities there are already using the system for public announcements

They have been able to install a portable emergency radio repeater, with the help from Virgin Islands Search Rescue. 

Now, with support from Serve On team, the Virgin Gorda Recovery Operation Centre group are doing a number things in preparation for the outbreak to hit the island:  

  • Identifying high-risk individuals
  • Increasing local education and awareness about the virus
  • Sorting out communications
  • Sourcing safe locations for isolation 
  • Looking for potential morgue facilities

Serve On Operational Director, Dan Cooke said: 

"We have been trying to identify and complete priority objectives as soon as possible in case we have the opportunity to get out fast, but we still have a mission and we will do our best to make a difference while we are here."

Serve on trip to British Virgin Islands
They are hoping to get all their work done before they need to leave

The Covid-19 pandemic has come as an extra blow as residents rely on food shipments from the United States and they anticipate those being affected by travel restrictions.

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Spire FM

© Copyright 2020 Spire FM, A UKRD group company