A ceremony celebrated the designation of the US Virgin Islands as Tsunami Ready during the Ninth session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS-IX) in May 2014. “We have worked long and hard for this recognition and as a result of our efforts, the territory is better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of tsunamis through our extensive planning, education and public awareness. It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when,” said Governor de Jongh during the ceremony.
Tsunami Ready status is granted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) once certain requirements are met such as establishing an emergency operations center and a 24-hour warning point to receive tsunami information.
It is yet another of a string of achievements made in 2013-2014 to increase the resilience of the Caribbean in preparation for tsunami and other coastal hazards. These include the launch of the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC), established in Barbados, and a successful tsunami exercise (CARIBEWAVE 2014) that counted with the participation of 47 Member States of 48, and almost 200,000 people signing up to receive alerts.
Participants in the 9th session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group noted the progress made and called for Member States contributions towards the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) to enable it to fully play its role as a key instrument for tsunami preparedness and awareness in the Caribbean region.
The ICG/CARIBE-EWS-IX was held in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, from 13 to 15 May 2014, hosted by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA). The meeting was attended by 56 participants from 15 Caribbean countries and territories and 5 organizations: Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre [CTIC], Science Applications International Corporation [SACI], Puerto Rico Seismic Network [PRSN], UNAVCO, Inc., and the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre [SRC]).
Countries represented at the conference included Barbados, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Sint Maarten, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela.