October 18, 20121415Views

Thursday, October 18 – A meeting was held today at the Moorings Mariner Inn Conference Room to report on the results of the hydrodynamic modelling of the potential impact of tsunamis and storm surge in the Virgin Islands (VI).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the European Unit funded Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3i), has embarked on a project to address risk and exposure through the provision of a network of regional infrastructure programmes, policies and protocols. These are intended to strengthen capacity within the English and Dutch Overseas Territories to predict and prepare for natural and anthropogenic hazards.

Mr. Alexandre Vacher, Project Coordinator from UNDP reported that the specific aim of this aspect of the project, Phase III – Coastal Hazard Mapping and Modelling, was to undertake a hydrodynamic model of the potential impact of tsunamis and storm surge in the Virgin Islands. He also indicated that Phase four has already commenced and will include analysing scenarios of storm surge and tsunamis in the Virgin Islands. These scenarios will help to generate inundation limits for each hazard and will be mapped within a GIS framework.

In his presentation Mr. Vacher provided a snapshot of progress achieved thus far which supplemented a concise report containing the overall status and assessment of the project. The report outlined the standard parameters of relevance, quality of design, efficiency, effectiveness, and the prospects of impact and the projected level of sustainability.

A detailed summary of work carried out in phases two and three was presented by the consultants from Smith Warner International and Deltares. Phase two spoke to the data acquisition and phase three focused on the development of the models. The consultants also presented the possible scenarios and models for the next phase of the project.

Also participating in the meeting was Dr. Aurelio Mercado of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, a Professor of Physical Oceanography in the Department of Marine Sciences.  He also serves as Director of the Coastal Hazards Centre and an Advisor on Coastal Hazards for the Puerto Rico Sea Grant Program. He is serving as the Quality Assurance Expert for the works taking place in the Virgin Islands.

Among those in attendance were technical officers from the Town and Country Department, National Parks Trust, Conservation and Fisheries Department, BVI Airport Authority, Premier’s Office, VI Ports Authority, Lands and Survey and the DDM.

The R3i project is a 4.9 million Euro initiative funded by the European Commission to achieve an increased and coordinated level of risk reduction in the English and Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), as well as to enhance capacity in order to gain accurate modelling and assessing of the cost to these small islands from a hazard impact. The main aim of this initiative is to address the risks and exposures of these OCTs by providing a network of regional infrastructure, programmes, policies and protocols aimed at reducing loss of human life and lessening the economic impact from disasters.