Emergency Communications Manager at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Mr. Jasen Penn has been reelected to serve as Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS).
Mr. Penn was also elected Chairman of the Tsunami Ready Task Team for another two years. His reelection came at the Fourteenth Session of the ICG/CARIBE EWS held in Costa Rica from April 8 to 11.
Mr. Penn said, “I am pleased to have been re-elected to serve as Vice Chairman of the Tsunami Ready Task Team and I am equally pleased to be one of three Vice Chairpersons of the ICG/CARIBE EWS along with the representative from Costa Rica and Haiti. The group is very active and is made up of scientists and disaster managers who have spent many years developing programmes aimed at increasing awareness about tsunamis and other coastal hazards.”
Penn said the BVI stands to benefit from being a member of the group. The benefits he said include strengthening its capacities of early warning and response for tsunamis and other coastal hazards in the Caribbean and build its resilience through emphasis on coordination, hazard assessment, warning communication, preparedness, response and resilience at regional, national and community levels.
“I was also able to meet with the representatives from the University Navigation Satellite Timing & Ranging Consortium (UNAVCO) which is a non-profit university-governed consortium that facilitates geoscience research and education. They committed to repairing and maintaining instrumentation already existing on Virgin Gorda and to further expand the network to include additional monitoring sites,” he added.
The Caribbean and its adjacent seas, including the Atlantic, has been the source region for 11% of the world’s fatal tsunamis over history, with almost 100 tsunamis observed that have impacted 23 countries within this region. Member States of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) are urged to be in a constant state of readiness to face the dangers of tsunamis from distant, regional and local sources.
The ICG/CARIBE EWS is made up of 48 member states including the British Virgin Islands and was established in 2005 as a subsidiary body of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) with the purpose of providing efficient assistance on tsunami risk reduction to Member States in the Caribbean region after the lessons learnt from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.