VI conducts earthquake & tsunami response exercise

Government of BVI (GIS), BVI, March 20, 2013 - 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 WAVE/LANTEX 2013.

 

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.DDM Staff working from the tailgate of DDM Mobile 1 for LANTEX '13

The 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 become unavailable.”

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 operations.

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.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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