Wednesday, March 20 – Today the Virgin Islands (VI) partnered with 44 countries and Territories in the Caribbean and
Adjacent Regions to participate in the second regional tsunami exercise, CARIBE
LANTEX is an earthquake and tsunami response
exercise that has been held annually since 2009. However, it was established as
a regional exercise in 2012 and it was agreed that the Caribbean would fully
participate. A total of 481 organisations and individuals (almost 200 more than
in 2011) registered to participate in this year’s exercise.
objective established for the Virgin Islands was to test the NEOC relocation
procedures and to allow for an assessment of the mobile emergency
communications and early warning systems. The exercise provided a simulated
tsunami warning message from the West Coast Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre
(WCATWC) and the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) based on a magnitude 8.5
earthquake occurring in the Caribbean Sea. The location of the
epicenter was 13.4 N, 70.0 W. The depth of the earthquake was
approximately 6 miles. As a result of this hazard
impact a Tsunami warning was issued.
At 9:05 am the DDM staff received a Tsunami
Warning Message from the WCATWC and this was confirmed by the PRSN and the
local Tsunami focal point established at the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force
(RVIPF). By 9:13 am the staff of the DDM had evacuated the facility and secured
and set up all mobile resources. Contact was made with all key agencies and
departments by 9:54 am.
The exercise allowed for the remote testing
of the national siren and broadcast system and provided an opportunity for
schools and organisations to test their tsunami response procedures.
Exercise Coordinator and Training
Officer at the DDM, Carishma Hicks said, “The exercise highlighted the challenges of
coordinating emergency response operations in the absence of a safe and secure
NEOC building. It also highlighted the
need to maintain redundancy in communications and early warning systems in the
event that the advanced communications technologies, which we are accustomed to
The DDM wishes to convey thanks to all
agencies, both Government and Private Sector that participated in this year’s
exercise and to the public for understanding the need for these annual critical
exercises. We wish to especially thank Mr. Collingston George, President of the
BVI Amateur Radio League who served as evaluator for the DDM response
Planning for CARIBE WAVE took over a year and
was coordinated by a task team led by the United States National Weather
Service (NWS) Caribbean Tsunami Warning Programme under the leadership of
Christa von Hillerbrandt-Andrade.