A delegation from the Department of Disaster
Management (DDM) is in St. Thomas today to receive the TsunamiReady recognition
Director of the DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo is heading
the delegation and will receive the award from the US based National Weather
Service, on behalf of His Excellency Governor Boyd McCleary, CMG, CVO.
Manager of the NWS Caribbean Tsunami Warning
Programme, Mrs. Christa von Hillerbrandt-Andrade who conducted the site
verification visit to the BVI in April, is high in praise for the development
of the Territory’s seismic monitoring network.
“I have been working with the BVI for over 20 years
and from having very little knowledge on earthquakes and tsunamis, very little
systems to be able to detect these hazards, the BVI now has a very robust
system for detecting earthquakes here which includes a sea level gauge that
contributes its data to the Tsunami Warning Centre and staff who are very
cognizant of their responsibilities,” Mrs. Hillerbrandt-Andrade said in an
interview during her recent visit.
She also commended the DDM for its work in schools,
the participation in drills and exercises such as Caribe Wave/Lantex and the
level of participation it is able to generate from the community level as well
as from the Government.
“We hope a tsunami never strikes the BVI but we know
it is possible; it can happen any day and the best thing possible is to be
ready for if or when it occurs. In the Caribbean, all our shores are threatened
by tsunamis, there is no area that is not threatened by tsunamis,” the NWS
She added, “If you want to save lives and protect your
economy, you just have to get ready and you need to have people educated, you
need notification systems, you need to have scientific studies on which to base
your evacuation measures and you need to have technology in place.”
With its TsunamiReady recognition, Mrs.
Hillerbrandt-Andrade affirmed that “the BVI is now better prepared to protect
the lives of its residents and also visitors to its beautiful waters. We hope
they would always remain calm but we know that any moment there could be an
earthquake and a significant tsunami could be generated.”
The TsunamiReady recognition award will be presented during
the meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and other
Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE
EWS), which gets underway today in St. Thomas.
TsunamiReady is an initiative of the NWS geared
towards promoting tsunami preparedness as a collaborative effort in vulnerable
communities. BVI is only the second Territory outside of the United States to
have received such recognition
Photo Caption: Manager of the NWS Caribbean Tsunami Warning
Programme, Mrs. Christa von Hillerbrandt-Andrade pictured here in
consultation with Superintendent St. Clair Armory of the Royal Virgin
Islands Police Force during her site verification visit.