US Virgin Islands Governor Signs Territory’s First Tsunami Response Plan
Above: Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. and VITEMA Director Elton Lewis (front) and Bill Proenza, Regional Director of the National Weather Service, Crista von Hillebrandt-Andrade, Manager of the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program and retired UVI professor and oceanographer Roy Watlington.
By the Caribbean Journal staff
US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh has signed a new tsunami response plan, which creates the territory’s first-ever Tsunami Incident Annex.
The annex established guidelines for a widely-coordinated response to tsunamis.
“The Tsunami Incident Annex outlines the activities of the government response agencies within the emergency management system in the event a tsunami threatens or impacts the territory,” de Jongh said. “The devastation that a tsunami can cause makes planning for it one of the highest priorities today in emergency management.”
Elton Lewis, director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, said the plan was a major milestone for the territory and brought it closer to “TsunamiReady” status.
“It is [a] living document that changes as our community grows and expands as our capabilities are enhanced,” he said.
The project is funded by a $100,000 grant from the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority.
In 2010, the governor wrote to President Barack Obama in support of an initiative to establish a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Centre in Puerto Rico.