The Virgin Islands will join other Caribbean states in a tsunami response drill on March 23.
The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate tsunami response plans, increase tsunami preparedness, and improve coordination throughout the region. The scenario for the Virgin Islands is a flank collapse of the volcano Mount Pelée in Martinique.
Training Manager at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Ms. Carishma Hicks said this important exercise will be a test of the Territory’s earthquake and tsunami procedures, which will help identify operational strengths and areas where improvements can be made.
Ms. Hicks said, “International and regional tsunami impacts like the ones that have taken place in 2010 in Haiti; and more recently after the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, have reminded the world of the urgent need to be more prepared for these events.”
The exercise, Caribe Wave 23, will simulate tsunami threat situations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. As part of the drill, DDM will activate the National Early Warning Multi-hazard Alert System, which includes public notification via emergency siren, radio, the DDM app, social media and other alerting tools.
The public is invited to join the practise session on Thursday morning. Forty-eight (48) government agencies and departments; schools; and businesses have registered.
“It’s very easy to join us when you hear the start of the test,” Ms. Hicks said, adding, “Simply practise the earthquake safety response of drop, cover and hold for 60 seconds; then if you are in a low-lying area, evacuate to high ground with your family or organisation.”
Caribe Wave will test public sector coordination plus local and regional emergency communications. Community participants are encouraged to identify their safe zone and evacuation routes, practise walking to high ground or inland together, and discuss with colleagues and relatives how they plan to get in touch after an emergency.
To sign up for Caribe Wave, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Caribewave2023.
If a tsunami or other real threat occurs during the exercise period, the exercise will be terminated.
Caribe Wave is organised locally by DDM under the leadership of the UNESCO/IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS), and in partnership with the Caribbean Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).