Government Cabinet has approved for the immediate release of $442,000 to re-establish the territory’s National Early Warning System, which was destroyed during the hurricanes last year.
The National Early Warning System is used to alert the territory when there is threat of a disaster.
Funds being released to finance the restoration of the critical system comes on the heels of a tsunami scare in the British Virgin Islands a week ago. Several residents were not aware of the danger until the threat had passed.
Meanwhile, Emergency Communications Manager at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Jasen Penn said plans are already in place to re-establish the warning system.
“We have reached out to our partners in Italy, Germany, and the USA to re-establish the systems. Many of them have provided significantly reduced rates and others will contribute full labour and installation costs.”
“The Puerto Rico Strong Motion Programme and Seismic Network team of engineers will be in the territory in the next two weeks to meet with the DDM to establish plans for the installation of the new equipment throughout the Territory,” Penn said.
A media release from government today said some of the $442,000 will also be used to establish a new building for the National Emergency Operations Centre.
While commenting on the funds being released to the DDM, Governor Augustus Jaspert said: “The new facilities to be built will not only provide for the establishment of a new National Emergency Operations Centre, but will accommodate the 15 members of DDM staff and make provisions for the storage of emergency supplies.”
“It is critical that these instruments be available as we enter into what might be another active hurricane season and to ensure that we have the ability to quickly alert the public in times of sudden onset events,” Governor Jaspert added.
Prior to the September 2017 hurricanes, the National Early Warning System, and Emergency Telecommunications and Hazard Monitoring programme had a total of seven sirens, a national emergency broadcast system connected to four local radio stations, a number of satellite phones located at strategic points throughout the territory, tsunami warning signs, a VSAT terminal on Anegada, a fully-functioning tide gauge, and a telecommunications network with four repeater sites.
The system also comprised a radio data system which enabled the activation of more than 100 smart radios through three local FM stations, 18 weather stations, four strong motion sensors, and three fully established seismic stations directly linked to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.
Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.