Above: the British Virgin Islands
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The British Virgin Islands says it is in the final stages of preparation to seek “Tsunami Ready” certification from the United States-based National Weather Service.
The programme is designed to help communities that are vulnerable to tsunamis reduce the potential for “disastrous tsunami-related consequences.”
The British Virgin Islands is in a seismically active region; its tsunami preparation work follows the news that the nearby US Virgin Islands had completed its first-ever tsunami evacuation map.
The BVI’s Department of Disaster Management has been placing tsunami evacuation signs in vulnerable areas aimed at guiding people to the nearest assembly point in the event of a tsunami warning.
“The signs clearly state Tsunami Evacuation Route and there is an accompanying arrow to identify the route to be followed,” said Christopher Williams, technical planning officer at the Department of Disaster Management. “Signs are being placed at all major intersections to accurately guide persons to the areas that are considered safe zones.”
Sharleen DaBreo, director of the DDM, said the Tsunami Ready certification was a “natural progression” for disaster management in the British Overseas Territory.
“The BVI is located in an active seismic zone and we therefore face the threat of tsunamis,” she said. “The region has been lucky thus far, not to have any tsunamis of catastrophic proportions but historic records show several possible tsunamis occurring up to 2010. Much of the work in disaster management focuses on mitigation and it is therefore important that the BVI take measures to reduce the potential impact of a tsunami.”