British Virgin Islands Holds Large-Scale Tsunami Evacuation Exercise

Above: the British Virgin Islands

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The British Virgin Islands held a large-scale tsunami evacuation drill on Wednesday as part of its annual tsunami simulation exercise, Caribe Wave/Lantex.

The drill saw almost 4,500 people across the British Overseas Territory evacuate buildings and follow new evacuation routes to designated assembly areas.

It simulated a tsunami caused by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake near Portugal.

This year saw the largest number of people to test their evacuation procedures since the exercise first launched in 2009, excepting 2011, when all schools in the territory tested their procedures.

“This year we had a greater response from the private sector when compared to previous years,” said Carishma Hicks, training officer at the British Virgin Islands’ Department of Disaster Management. “Immediately after the initial announcement of the exercise in February, we started receiving calls and emails with persons expressing their interest in participating.”

Both the British and United States Virgin Islands have been largely ahead of the regional curve in improving their tsunami preparedness.

The DDM has already developed its own evacuation maps for the territory, while the US Virgin Islands unveiled its first-ever tsunami evacuation maps earlier this year.

“Persons are evidently more informed about the potential impact of earthquakes and tsunamis on the British Virgin Islands and are keen to understand what actions to take in the event of hazard impact,” Hicks said.