The British Virgin Islands (BVI) will participate in a Regional simulation exercise to test its tsunami response plans on March 21.
The exercise, titled ‘CARIBE WAVE 17’ provides an opportunity for the countries and territories in the Caribbean and adjacent regions to validate and update their tsunami response plans, improve their tsunami warning system’s effectiveness and promote tsunami preparedness.
The exercise is being coordinated locally by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and is viewed as an important aspect of the Territory’s Tsunami Ready status.
DDM’s Training Officer, Ms. Carishma Hicks said, “As is customary, the DDM is encouraging widespread participation in this year’s exercise, not only because of the Territory’s geographic location which predisposes the islands to earthquakes that often triggers tsunamis, but also because these types of simulations have been proven to reduce loss of life during actual events.”
She added, “This year’s exercise is also significant because the BVI’s Tsunami Ready status will be re-examined to ascertain whether or not the Territory should be recertified. Public participation is therefore imperative as it sends the message that tsunami awareness and preparation is valued by the people and not regarded as only the concern of the DDM and its partners.”
Ms. Hicks highlighted the need for widespread participation by making reference to a recent study which indicated that the Caribbean is at risk for a major tsunami.
Ms. Hicks said, “Let us not forget the global tsunami risk study findings released in 2015 which revealed that the Puerto Rico Trench is capable of generating a tsunami which could impact the BVI with waves up to nine metres; such an event has the potential to be disastrous but the effects can be reduced if we are prepared.”
All Government departments, statutory agencies, private sector organisations and schools are expected to participate in the CARIBE WAVE exercise which will test the Territory’s response and level of preparedness for a tsunami generated by a magnitude 8.5 earthquake northeast of the Lesser Antilles.
Persons interested in participating should contact the DDM on or before March 15 at 468-4200 or email [email protected] for registration and guidelines.
CARIBE WAVE is the annual tsunami exercise of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO/IOC), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Programme (NTHMP)—a partnership of 29 states and territories and three federal agencies.
The Tsunami Ready designation was granted to the BVI by the U.S. based National Weather Service (NWS) in 2014 and seeks to ensure that tsunami vulnerable countries promote and undertake measures to reduce the level of impact of an actual tsunami event.
Photo Caption: Private Sector employees participating in the 2016 simulation exercise.
Photo Credit: Department of Disaster Management.