Coordinated management of coastal hazard awareness and preparedness in the USVI
- 1Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
- 2Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
- 3University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Abstract. As far back as history has been written in the islands today known as the US Virgin Islands (USVI), residents have had to endure and survive costly and deadly onslaughts from tropical storms such as the 1867 San Narciso Hurricane, Hurricane Hugo and Hurricane Marilyn. Keenly alerted by recent tragic events in the Indian Ocean in 2004, in Haiti in 2010 and in Japan in 2011, the USVI was reminded that it had suffered its greatest tsunami impact in a well-documented event that had followed the 1867 hurricane by fewer than three weeks. To address their community's continual vulnerability to coastal hazards, USVI emergency managers, scientists and educators, assisted by national and regional disaster management agencies and warning programs, have engaged programs for understanding, anticipating and mitigating these hazards. This paper focuses on how three public-serving institutions, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), the University of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean Ocean Observing System have responded to the community's need for improved preparedness through programs of physical preparation, planning, research, observations, education and outreach. This report reviews some of the approaches and activities employed in the USVI in the hope of sharing their benefits with similarly vulnerable coastal communities.