Clear-Up, Communications Update and Relief Voyage Delay

See also:

Progress Report on 18th July storm damage and repairs

Reports from Acting Administrator Lorraine Repetto
and Administrator Sean Burns

The storm which buffeted the Tristan da Cunha Settlement on the night of Thursday 18th July
caused widespread damage, and is regarded as the most damaging natural disaster
to effect the island since the October 1961 volcanic eruption.

This is the latest update as the community starts to repair the damage.

Team working to shore up the north end of the Administration Building roof during the morning of 25th July.
This section of roof is above the Council Chamber and Administrator's Office which were extensively damaged.
The building itself remained out of bounds that day and therefore no Administration or Treasury staff could work there.
Photographs on this page were the first to be sent as ordinary email attachments from the island on 25th July by Lorraine Repetto - photographers are unknown at this time.

Communications with the island

Tristan restored limited phone and internet contact on Thursday 25th July. Damage to key offices, for example the main Administration Building was still declared 'out of bounds' due to structural damage, means usual work stations are not operating. Therefore emails to particular accounts may not get through and replies are likely to be much delayed.

A further update received on Friday 26th July confirms that, although phones are working, there are issues for people phoning in. Callers may get a correct calling signal, phone may be picked up, a voice may be heard on the island, but incoming callers may not hear anything. If this occurs, leave a brief message identifying yourself and requesting a call back, as outgoing calls seem to be more effective.

Another storm threatens the badly damaged Post Office and Tourism Centre

Views above and below show inside the Post Office and Tourism Centre. This most prized island facility contains all the philatelic stock, precious artefacts in the Tristan Museum and normally is the work base for the Post Office and Tourism Teams who lead the provision of island news and photographs for the website. Clearly it will take some time for damage to be assessed, and, hopefully repaired.

Repairs Update

Lorraine reported on Friday 26th July that the island teams have done a great job carrying out emergency repairs to make the following buildings as watertight as possible: Administration Building, Communications Room, CEO House and The Residency. Presently teams are working to waterproof the Creche, Post Office and Tourism Centre, and clear up the village and government areas generally.

Head of Tristan Post Office Iris Green has reported that the gable end of the Post Office and Tourism Centre is badly cracked. Elsewhere the severely damaged Mechanical Building store is being cleared prior to the building being dismantled.

View of the damaged roof of St Mary's School viewed from the internal quadrangle.

Two views, above and below, of the main hall at St Mary's School, showing the gaping roof (separate from the top photo damage) and an early view of debris scattered on the floor. The high roof of the hall and extensive roofing damage to the main classroom roofs, mean that repair of the school will be a major job. The school is situated at the eastern end of the Settlement and bore the first brunt of the south-east gale on the night of Thursday 18th July.

Relief Voyage Delay

Preparations to obtain materials and assemble key staff for departure on MFV Edinburgh are on-going. In order to ensure all necessary materials can be loaded it is expected that the ship will depart Cape Town on Thursday 8th August.

The MFV Geo Searcher is scheduled to depart Cape Town on Friday 16th August for the first extended 2019-2020 fishing trip to the outer islands of Nightingale, Inaccessible and Gough.

Tristan da Cunha Association Response

The UK-based Tristan da Cunha Association run this website and it is hoped to provide regular bulletins on these pages throughout the clear-up period. As this is a priority, other reports may be delayed.

The August Tristan da Cunha Newsletter is being printed this week and it has been decided to publish an additional supplement to be enclosed with the newsletter on the July 2019 Storm. Copies of the newsletter will be posted w/b 29th July.

The association will also be launching a new 'Emergency Fund' so that friends of the island can make donations to help the Tristan community get back to normal.

Friends of the island who are not already members, and therefore will not receive the 44-page full colour newsletter and July Storm Supplement, are encouraged to join now - see the Tristan Association section for more information: The Emergency Fund will be launched as soon as possible.