(Bottom) EM Dir. Elton Lewis watches as USVI Governor John P. de Jongh Jr. signs Tsunami Incident Annex.
(L - R - Back Row) UVI Professor and Oceanographer Roy Watlington, CTWP Manager Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade and NWS Southern Region Dir. Bill Proenza (Photo: USVI Governor's Office)
(Feb. 10, 2010) - U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. has signed off on the territory's first Tsunami Incident Annex. It is the latest development in the National Weather Service's ongoing tsunami mitigation efforts throughout the Caribbean.
"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," said deJongh. "It embraces the capabilities and resources in the broader emergency management community that includes individuals, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and the federal government. The devastation a tsunami can cause, makes planning for it one of the highest priorities today in emergency management."
Virgin Islands Territory Emergency Management Agency Director Elton Lewis noted, "All of our efforts, from the completion of the Tsunami Incident Annex, to the installation of a siren warning system in 2011 and plans for installation of tsunami signs in the near future - brings us closer to achieving TsunamiReady® status."
Currently, more than 100 communities have taken the necessary steps to become TsunamiReady in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Anguilla. To earn TsunamiReady recognition, communities must have established a 24 hour emergency operations center, developed multiple ways to receive tsunami warnings and alert the public, developed a formal tsunami hazard plan and conducted emergency exercises and promoted public readiness through community education.
The National Weather Service is working in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission to bring the TsunamiReady program to more countries in effort to bolster international tsunami preparedness.
At the signing, National Weather Service Southern Region Director Bill Proenza again emphasized the importance of being prepared for a tsunami event. "Mother Nature gives us a lot of harbingers of when the next severe weather event may come along, but tsunamis give the least amount of warning."