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BVI Tsunami Preparedness

Tuesday, May 25  Mr. Bill Proenza, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) National Weather Service's Southern Region, accompanied by the new Director of the Caribbean Tsunami Center, Mrs. Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, and Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mr. Rafael Mojica recently met with His Excellency the Governor Mr. David Pearey and staff of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM).The May 20 visit to the Territory was arranged to promote and provide a better understanding of the work of the United States National Weather Service and the newly created Caribbean Tsunami Warning Center. The officials also discussed local measures which are in place to prepare the community for the impact of tsunamis and earthquakes and how the relationship between the U.S. National Weather Service and the DDM can be strengthened to ensure there is support for the provision of warning and notification in the event of the impact from natural hazard events.

The visiting team also made a presentation on the Caribbean Tsunami Risks and NOAA's Tsunami Program to the Rotary Club of Tortola during their weekly luncheon meeting.

Governor Pearey presented an Award of Appreciation to Mrs. von Hillebrandt-Andrade for her ongoing years of dedicated service to the Virgin Islands’ Disaster Management Programme. Mrs. Von Hillebrandt-Andrade recently assumed the post of Director of the Caribbean Tsunami Center after serving as Director of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) from 1994-2010. The Governor said he was honoured to be chosen to present Ms. Hillebrandt-Andrade with the timely award and thanked her for her efforts in advancing the Disaster Management Programme in the Virgin Islands.

In her remarks Ms. Hillebrandt-Andrade said, "It's an honour for me to work promoting public safety and protecting people's lives, property and livelihood." She expressed her continued commitment to working with the DDM in promoting and enhancing the Territory’s Disaster Management Programme.

It is expected that talks will continue regarding the establishment of a formal Agreement between the NOAA National Weather Services and DDM.

In keeping with its mission the DDM will continue to seek to reduce loss of life and property attributable to disaster by ensuring that adequate preparedness and mitigation measures, response and recovery mechanisms are established to counteract the impact of hazards.

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