The Territory’s state of readiness for a tsunami event has been reassessed as part of the process to renew its Tsunami Ready recognition.
Manager of the United States (US) National Weather Service (NWS) Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program, Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade conducted the reassessment to renew the Territory’s tsunami ready recognition following an application by the Department of Disaster Management.
As part of the process, Mrs. von Hillebrandt-Andrade conducted a site verification visit to the Territory on Thursday June 8, and reviewed the procedures at the tsunami warning focal point, located at the Control Room of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the national contact point at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM). She also observed a tsunami evacuation exercise at the Little Litehouse Child Development Centre in Sea Cows Bay and viewed the early warning systems and tsunami notification guides available to the public.
Mrs. von Hillebrandt-Andrade said, “In the following week, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) Regional Tsunami Recognition Board will review BVI’s application, receive my report on the verification visit and will make a recommendation regarding the request for recognition.”
The tsunami ready recognition was awarded to the Territory by the US Based National Weather Service (NWS) in 2014 through a joint US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and UNESCO Pilot Project. However, the Territory’s renewal is being conducted under the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal
Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE EWS) Tsunami Ready pilot programme.
Director of the DDM, Sharleen DaBreo said the renewal process is significant for the maintenance of tsunami ready standards.
She explained, “A tsunami event remains a real threat to the BVI and so it is important that we continue to put a lot of effort into tsunami preparedness. The initial certification in 2014 confirmed that the Territory had mechanisms in place for a tsunami event and this evaluation was important to ensure that we maintained and further developed them.”
Ms. DaBreo added, “The renewal cycle will compel us to continuously update our measures and standards taking into consideration new findings which are uncovered through advancements in technology and continuous research on tsunami events.”
The guidelines for the CARIBE-EWS Tsunami Ready recognition are based on mitigation, preparedness and response which include tsunami hazard zone maps and signage, public outreach and education, and emergency operations plans and procedures.
Note: The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is the Territory’s National Tsunami Warning Focal Point because it is necessary to have a 24-hour service capable of receiving tsunami threat information and activating the early warning system, since the DDM does not operate a 24-hour service.
Photo Attached: Photo Credit: Various images from Tsunami Ready renewal site verification visit. Department of Disaster Management