BVI receives Tsunami Ready Recognition award in St. Thomas

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, May 13th, 2014 (DDM) - A delegation from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is in St. Thomas today to receive the TsunamiReady recognition award.

Director of the DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo is heading the delegation and will receive the award from the US based National Weather Service, on behalf of His Excellency Governor Boyd McCleary, CMG, CVO.

 

Manager of the NWS Caribbean Tsunami Warning Programme, Mrs. Christa von Hillerbrandt-Andrade who conducted the site verification visit to the BVI in April, is high in praise for the development of the Territory’s seismic monitoring network.

“I have been working with the BVI for over 20 years and from having very little knowledge on earthquakes and tsunamis, very little systems to be able to detect these hazards, the BVI now has a very robust system for detecting earthquakes here which includes a sea level gauge that contributes its data to the Tsunami Warning Centre and staff who are very cognizant of their responsibilities,” Mrs. Hillerbrandt-Andrade said in an interview during her recent visit.

She also commended the DDM for its work in schools, the participation in drills and exercises such as Caribe Wave/Lantex and the level of participation it is able to generate from the community level as well as from the Government.Manager of the NWS Caribbean Tsunami Warning Programme, Mrs. Christa von Hillerbrandt-Andrade pictured here in consultation with Chief Inspector St. Clair Armory of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force during her site verification visit

“We hope a tsunami never strikes the BVI but we know it is possible; it can happen any day and the best thing possible is to be ready for if or when it occurs. In the Caribbean, all our shores are threatened by tsunamis, there is no area that is not threatened by tsunamis,” the NWS official noted.

She added, “If you want to save lives and protect your economy, you just have to get ready and you need to have people educated, you need notification systems, you need to have scientific studies on which to base your evacuation measures and you need to have technology in place.”

With its TsunamiReady recognition, Mrs. Hillerbrandt-Andrade affirmed that “the BVI is now better prepared to protect the lives of its residents and also visitors to its beautiful waters. We hope they would always remain calm but we know that any moment there could be an earthquake and a significant tsunami could be generated.”

The TsunamiReady recognition award will be presented during the meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE EWS), which gets underway today in St. Thomas.

TsunamiReady is an initiative of the NWS geared towards promoting tsunami preparedness as a collaborative effort in vulnerable communities. BVI is only the second Territory outside of the United States to have received such recognition

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