Virginia specialists to answer call for help from hurricane-ravaged islands

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This weekend teams from Virginia will deploy to the U.S. Virgin Islands to aid in recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Specialists from the Virginia Department of Health’s central office, along with the Henrico, Roanoke, Three Rivers and Alexandria health districts and Fairfax County Health Department are part of the outreach coordinated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

“Virginia remains vigilant in our efforts to aid our fellow Americans, and we are in close contact with emergency managers in the impacted areas to offer our support as this part of the country continues long-term recovery projects,” says VDEM State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “These teams leaving this week will join a long list of Virginia emergency managers, police, health and other volunteers who have deployed to these areas on various missions to aid their fellow Americans.”

The teams will work with leaders on those islands to inspect food service establishments and other regulated facilities while also providing education on environmental health and sanitation issues.

“I am proud that personnel from the Virginia Department of Health are always willing to answer the call for volunteers when their skills are needed,” says State Health Commissioner, Dr. Marissa J. Levine. “Having well-trained public health professionals and environmental health specialists on the ground to help these island communities stay healthy and get back on their feet is essential. Also essential is answering such calls to help others through this mutual aid compact, for doing so assures that others would help Virginia in a similar time of need.”

Adds Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Fairfax Health Director, “We are excited and honored to be able to provide assistance to areas affected by those devastating storms. I want to thank the members of our team for their compassionate service. I know they will provide to the residents and visitors of the U.S. Virgin Islands the same professionalism and high quality service to which the citizens of the Fairfax have come to expect. We wish them a safe and successful journey.”

The teams are scheduled to leave for St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix on February 11. They are slated to return on February 27.Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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