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January 30, 2024

[U.S. Virgin Islands] – Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) is proud to announce that Deputy Director for Planning & Preparedness, Regina Browne, has recently assumed significant leadership roles in preparedness programs both locally and internationally.

On February 1st, Ms. Browne will begin her term as the Chair of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program's Mitigation and Education Subcommittee. This national subcommittee is responsible for:

  • Developing community-based tsunami mitigation and preparedness plans, with a focus on at-risk areas;
  • Creating education and awareness programs to promote tsunami readiness among the public and in schools;
  • Providing input on tsunami warning guidance for federal, state, territorial, and local stakeholders;
  • Identifying tsunami signage needs and recommendations for communities; • Supporting the adoption of tsunami-resilient building codes and design standards; and,
  • Fostering mitigation partnerships between government agencies, non-profits, academia, and private sector stakeholders.

The Deputy Director will also serve as one of the Vice Chairs of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) which was established in 2005, and is currently comprised of 32 Member States and 16 Territories. ICG/CARIBE-EWS is a subsidiary body of the International Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO/IOC that coordinates international tsunami warning and mitigation activities, including the issuance of timely and understandable tsunami bulletins in the Caribbean and adjacent regions. Ms. Browne plays an important leadership role in the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program, a key regional effort to enhance tsunami preparedness by coordinating tsunami detection and warning systems across the Caribbean Sea and adjacent regions.

Browne's role will give the US Virgin Islands and other eastern Caribbean territories a greater voice in shaping plans for the Caribbean Tsunami Warning System, a network of sea-level stations and seismic monitors tied into the Pacific and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centers. As Vice Chair, Browne can also advocate for education, communication, and warning dissemination approaches that address the unique challenges smaller island territories face. Her insights will help ensure the Caribe EWS program adequately serves the needs of remote coastal populations and promotes community readiness to respond to tsunami threats.

Additionally, Ms. Browne is serving as Chair of the National Hurricane Conference's Tropical Islands and Latin America Committee. This committee promotes hurricane preparedness and resiliency for islands and coastal communities. Browne is the first representative from the USVI to hold the top leadership positions on these three national committees simultaneously. Her appointments underscore the territory's commitment to advancing preparedness and mitigation strategies and give the USVI greater influence in international and national policy conversations around tsunami and hurricane threats.

VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen adds, “As Deputy Director of VITEMA’s Planning & Preparedness division, Regina has been a critical asset to the territory in terms of our overall readiness for natural disasters, in particular. Her new committee leadership roles are proof that the USVI plays a pivotal role in the national and regional discourse when it comes to preparedness. We are lucky to have her at VITEMA and in the USVI. She helps to keep us all prepared, informed, and vigilant.”

VITEMA is the sole Virgin Islands government agency designated to supervise, administer, and coordinate all-hazards response and recovery operations. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state, and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits, and businesses - VITEMA ensures the Territory’s ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and building the capacity to recover.

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