May 10, 2011523Views

Tuesday, May 9 – An eight member team of experts will spend the next two weeks in the Territory collecting the necessary data that will be needed to conduct a probabilistic risk assessment for the potential impact of tsunamis and storm surge in the Virgin Islands as part of the UNDP Regional Risk Reduction (R3i) Initiative funded by the European Commission.
Smith Warner International Limited of Jamaica in association with Deltaras of the Netherlands and the United States Geological Survey will undertake these works.  The outcomes of this project include numeric modeling to determine tsunami wave amplitude and inundation depths for populated coastal areas with deliverables being hazards maps detailing tsunami wave amplitude and inundation for selected scenarios and coastal areas. 
This aspect will involve the collection of bathymetry of the areas surrounding the islands both near shore and farther ashore, coastal topography, digital elevation models and existing GIS data.  Director, Disaster Management, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo said, “This aspect of the project will be conducted in consultation with key government departments and will include training for technical staff within these various departments and agencies on how to utilise the models to be generated and how to incorporate localised data into existing local development processes.”
As part of this project the VI will also receive quantitative hazard maps detailing storm surge wave amplitude and inundation for selected return periods and coastal areas.
Such activities will also take into account the estimates of projected sea level rise provided in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  This aspect will include the collection of information related to historical records of hurricanes, bathymetry and beach profile data, coastal topography, digital elevation models and existing GIS data.
Ms. DaBreo further said, “These modeling activities are a continuation of the 1997 Hazard and Risk Assessment Project and the 2005 and 2006 Quantitative Risk assessment Project Phases 1 and 2 respectively.   The contribution from the R3i project towards the tsunami and storm surge modeling activities for the VI is expected to be US$668,080.94.”
The OCTs Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3i) covers the English and Dutch overseas countries and territories in the region with the exception of Bermuda.  The project seeks to address the risk and exposure of these small islands by providing a network of regional infrastructure, programmes, policies and protocols to strengthen their capacity to predict and prepare for natural and human induced hazards and thus improve resilience and reduce risk and subsequent loss.  The R3i is funded by the European Commission in the amount of Euros 4.932 million covering a period of three years.