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Intern Researches BVI Tsunami Vulnerability

Wednesday, July 8. A technical intern from the University of Portsmouth, England is in the Territory for five weeks completing tsunami vulnerability mapping of Road Town. Mr. Oliver Wright will spend his time here in the BVI focusing on five specific outputs which will include assessing the vulnerability of the coastal areas of Road Town to flooding, tsunami and storm surge; creating a likely scenario for coastal inundation; assessing the vulnerability of buildings, structures and people within the high-risk zones; creating an evacuation/mitigation plan for Road Town and documenting all approaches and methods used in collection of the data.

Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Ms. Sharleen DaBreo said, “We are pleased to be able to accommodate technical interns such as Mr. Wright who will be able to provide us with detailed structural information on the vulnerability of buildings against floods, tsunamis and storm surge and how best to represent that data with an aim to make it easily available to the public and for use by professionals.” Ms. DaBreo further said, “This project is timely and fits well into the overall hazard mapping activities currently being undertaken by DDM and its partners.”

The work that Mr. Wright is conducting is based on the scenario of a 5 – 6 meter high tsunami impacting the coast of Road Town.

Mr. Wright will be concentrating on mapping approximately twenty (20) buildings per hour and will engage in detailed field assessments. Mr. Wright stated, “I will utilize historical data and current models, topographic and land use data including digital elevations models, contour maps and mangrove/coral areas to create a likely scenario for coastal inundation.”

Another output of Mr. Wright’s work will be to create an evacuation plan for Road Town including evacuation routes, locations of safe areas, nearest undamaged critical facilities etc. The final outputs will also be accessible using Google Earth thereby allowing free access to the community.

A report documenting the findings with approaches and methods that could be used to provide low-cost and rapid, yet detailed, effective and accurate assessment for other areas of the BVI will be made presented to the department at the end of the internship.

Mr. Wright’s internship is self funded and all data collected will be presented to the Government in a format suitable for future use.

Mr. Oliver Wright examining and documenting findings of the structures on Main Street, Road Town. Photo courtesy of DDM

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