British Virgin Islands launches disaster notification app
The British Virgin Islands has launched a new Disaster Emergency Notification App, developed exclusively for the island.
The app called ‘BVI DDM Alert’ was launched by the Department of Disaster Management, Government of the British Virgin Islands last week in collaboration with Digicel, a telecommunications company.
The app will allow users to access key information in real time and offers an immediate way to reach a large number of people.
The launch follows a notably destructive 2017 hurricane season for the British Virgin Islands. Hurricane Irma hit the island in Septmeber 2017 with wind speeds of 215 mph, destroying 85% of buildings and killing four people.
Sharleen DaBreo, Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), discussed the importance of the app at its launch:
“The DDM is very pleased to partner with Digicel to create this very innovative system that allows cell phone users to immediately access critical information. The app serves as an important part of the Territory’s early warning system and is another means of allowing us to reach the masses.”
“With great determination and responsibility we at DDM have taken it upon ourselves to embark on creating an app that would be beneficial not only for us but for the Territory on a whole. There is opportunity for the app to be used by the wider government departments and agencies.”
Mr. Jeremy Hodge, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Works, commented:
“I know that Irma and her aftermath is still fresh in our minds, and therefore has heightened the importance of finding innovative ways of keeping our residents informed of any threatening weather or other hazardous occurrences on the ground; I am happy today that we are formally introducing an app that will have the capability to keep our public informed. Information via smart devices is definitely heading in the right direction”
Kevin Gordon, Chief Executive Operator, Digicel added:
“The BVI DDM app is effectively a real-time push notification tool, that will make it easier for users in the BVI and worldwide to receive critical information directly from the DDM.”
The app, which is free to download and easy to use, will be solely managed by the Department of Disaster Management and will be available to download in August. All residents of the British Virgin Islands are being encouraged to download the app.
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Image credit: UNICEF/Moreno Gonzalez