Press Release

Department of Disaster Management
Release Date:
Tuesday, 26 March 2024 - 3:05pm

Director of Disaster Management Jasen Penn said he is pleased with the Virgin Islands overall response in the regional tsunami exercise Caribe Wave.

Mr. Penn said the exercise last week went very well, with more than 4,000 Virgin Islands participants, including number of retail, financial services, tourism and other businesses. Students, public officers and private sector workers practised elements of safe tsunami response such as heading to higher ground or inland during the exercise.

The drill was coordinated locally by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), and is a test of local equipment and procedures; and a run-through of how international monitoring agencies share tsunami warning messages with the Virgin Islands and other regional partners.

Mr. Penn said the education sector demonstrated particular commitment to safety with their participation.

“It was impressive to see the entire Elmore Stoutt High School, junior and senior students and their instructors, move as a group to their designated assembly area. We also saw a number of early childhood education centres successfully and safely evacuating with their toddler classes,” Mr. Penn said.

The director added that as usual, government ministries, departments and statutory bodies also participated.

“All these groups recognise that carrying out a safety drill is a challenge worth taking on because the benefit is improved safety for their team,” he said.

Participation was up substantially from 2023, when about 3,000 in the VI took part, said exercise coordinator and DDM Training Manager Carishma Hicks.

 “We hope that more and more persons in the community are coming to recognise the importance of regular emergency exercises as part of the overall cycle of practise and improvement so that in the event of a real emergency, they will be ready to protect themselves and their families,” Ms. Hicks said.

Participants are encouraged to share feedback on the exercise via a short online form at

Annual tsunami exercises help the Virgin Islands maintain its Tsunami Ready status, which was first achieved in 2014. This year 482,159 persons from the region participated in Caribe Wave, which is led by the UNESCO/IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS).


Chrystall Kanyuck-Abel
Information & Education Manager
Department: Department of Disaster Management
Office: 468-4200 
Mobile: 468-9854