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THE DDM LAUNCHES THEIR GEOLOGICAL HAZARD AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Contact:  Natasha Lettsome, Information Training Manager
Telephone: 494-4499
E-Mail: nlettsome@gov.vg


THE DDM LAUNCHES THEIR GEOLOGICAL HAZARD AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Tuesday 14th August 2007 – Today marks the commencement of the 2007 Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness Campaign.  This campaign is designed to educate and inform the public about the importance of earthquake and tsunami preparedness.

The British Virgin Islands are located in a seismically active area.  There are four major sources in the region that makes the BVI vulnerable to seismic activity; the Caribbean Plate, the Kick em Jenny submarine volcano, the Cumbre Vieja Volcano on the Canary Islands, and the Puerto Rico Trench.  It is for this reason that the Department of Disaster Management continues to keep the public informed and prepared regarding these hazards.  

An earthquake is a sudden motion or trembling of the ground produced by the abrupt displacement of rock masses.  Because earthquakes strike suddenly, they cannot be predicted, so that is why it is so important that the community knows how to respond in the event of an earthquake.  During an earthquake it is important to stay calm.  If you are inside when the earthquake strikes, stay there.  

Stand in a door-less doorway or crouch under a sturdy desk or table, away from windows or glass dividers.  If you are outside when an earthquake strikes, stay there.  Stand away from buildings, trees, telephone poles, and electric lines.  When there is an earthquake that is high on the Richter scale, the ground shakes violently.  Under the seafloor, the ground shakes too; this is called a submarine earthquake.  The vertical displacement of water from a submarine earthquake can generate a tsunami.  When this happens, the sea floor is lifted up and down, pushing the entire water column up and down.  This up and down movement becomes intense and pushes the water horizontally towards any nearby coast or land.  When these large waves, sometimes as high as 30-100ft travel en route to the shore they are called a tsunami.  A tsunami is a series of waves, do not assume that one wave means that the danger is over; the next wave might be larger than the first one.  These waves can occur anywhere from 5-90 minutes apart.  A strong earthquake lasting 20 seconds or more, a noticeable rapid rise or fall in coastal waters, and a significant withdrawal of the sea are all tsunami warning signs. If you detect signs of a tsunami, move to higher ground immediately and stay away from beaches or coastal areas.

During the months of August and September, earthquake and tsunami awareness information will be disseminated via the local media. The public is advised to tap into these information sources to arm themselves with the necessary knowledge needed to survive the earthquake or tsunami impact.

The seismicity of the BVI shouldn’t be taken likely.  Plan ahead to ensure your survival. Any additional information regarding earthquake and tsunami preparedness can be obtained from the Department of Disaster Management.  

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IT IS BETTER TO PREPARE AND PREVENT RATHER THAN REPAIR AND REPENT. S. THOMAS

DEPARTMENT OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT
#3 Wailing Road MacNamara
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Ph. 284-494-4499 Fax: 284-494-2024
E-Mail: bviddm@surfbvi.com

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