Department of Disaster Management Director Jasen Penn’s message for Disaster Risk Reduction Day – October 13, 2022
Today we join the global community marking Disaster Risk Reduction Day.
Each year, under the leadership of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, this day serves to raise awareness about the ways we can decrease destruction caused by disasters.
This year’s theme, Early Warning for All, is about access to multi-hazard early warning systems. Here in the Virgin Islands, we are fortunate that warnings are possible with many of our most dangerous hazards. Damage and injury from flooding, hurricanes, extreme heat and droughts can be reduced or even eliminated by giving notice to those persons who may be impacted in time for them to take action. In other words, forewarned is forearmed.
But a warning is only effective if it is received. To get these vital safety alerts to all Virgin Islands residents and visitors, the Department of Disaster Management utilises all the tools available to us. Reaching everyone, however, requires collaboration with partners across Government agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organisations.
Disaster Risk Reduction Day is a timely opportunity to publicly thank those partners. To our colleagues in public service, we are grateful that you consistently put your specialized skills and knowledge to work to promote emergency messages with your stakeholders and encourage them to take action early.
To our media houses, broadcasters and telecommunications providers, we are grateful for your willingness to support emergency communications efforts. Your assistance broadens the reach of each warning.
To those dedicated staff and volunteers in the non-profit sector – a special thank you for your work with our most vulnerable communities, which helps ensure those most at-risk will not be left behind in an emergency.
To our partners from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and other international organisations, we are grateful for your investments of equipment and training. These contributions help ensure that the Virgin Islands has adequate local monitoring in place to detect hazards in time to issue warnings to the public.
Finally, the general public is also part of the team that makes early warnings effective. Thank you to all the Virgin Islands residents who heed emergency warnings, and take action early to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses.
In the face of increasing impacts of climate change, I urge all of us to do what we can to ensure that warnings can be received and that persons can take action. This important work helps all of us to Be Ready.