Press Release

Department of Disaster Management
Release Date:
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 - 12:12pm

The Territory’s residents will participate in the upcoming CARIBE WAVE 18 tsunami exercise scheduled to take place on March 15.

The annual tsunami exercise is organised by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Region. It provides an opportunity for its member states, including the BVI, to test their plans, improve their Tsunami Warning System effectiveness and promote tsunami awareness.

About 4500 persons across the British Virgin Islands participated in the evacuation exercises planned and executed by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) last year.  They were guided to designated assembly areas and had the opportunity to test their evacuation plans and procedures.

Training Officer, Carishma Hicks has organised these exercises since 2008 and is calling for residents to fully participate this year. “We want to ensure that there is full participation by all, especially in light of the tsunami advisory that was issued for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands recently.  We want to test the procedures that would have been implemented if that advisory message was changed to a tsunami warning for the BVI”, she said.

On January 9, an earthquake measuring 7.6 magnitude struck near Honduras at 10:51 p.m. (local time) at a depth of 10km.  In accordance with the Tsunami Protocols, a Tsunami Threat Message was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for countries close to the epicenter and an Advisory Message was issued by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Officials from the DDM on receiving the advisory message alerted key officials and members of the public via telephone, WhatsApp Groups, Social Media and subscribers on the BVI DDM website.

A Cancellation Message was issued by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network at 12:16 a.m. (local time) on January 10.

Ms. Hicks explained the differences between the advisory and the warning statements issued by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network saying, “If an earthquake poses only a marine tsunami threat to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands then a tsunami advisory is issued. This may result in minor flooding of harbours and beaches.  This level of impact is a hazard to swimmer, surfers, divers, boaters and others engaging in coastal ocean recreation or work activities.”

Ms. Hicks added, “In considering the actions to be taken during a tsunami warning, there will be changes in sea level accompanied by repeated flooding and draining of land near the coast accompanied by damage to or destruction of coastal structures. This level of tsunami impact is a hazard to all persons in coastal areas and inundation zones and under these circumstances evacuation will be required.”

Persons or organisations wishing to participate in Carib Wave 18 can indicate their interest in participating by emailing the Department of Disaster Management at


Department of Disaster Management

#3 Wailing Road McNamara,
Road Town VG1110,
Tortola Virgin Islands
Tel: 284-468-4200 Fax:284-494-2024
Office Email: