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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 2, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTsunami Warning Message a Hoax, VITEMA Says

Tsunami Warning Message a Hoax, VITEMA Says

Ignore any messages concerning a tsunami about to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s a hoax, said V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Mark Walters.
"It spread like wildfire," he said of the bogus message.
Walters first learned of the hoax Wednesday when parents began pulling their children out of schools. He said that people are already "unnerved" due to the earthquake in Haiti and earthquakes and tsunamis in other places around the world. This apparently prompted people to quickly forward the email message when they received it.
The prank message indicated that an 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit Venezuela and that tsunami warnings were issued for the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The message indicated the tsunami would hit the Virgin Islands at 1:14 a.m., but Walters said it didn’t indicate the day.
Walters immediately checked with the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center to ascertain that no earthquake had occurred and that no tsunami warnings were issued.
"We are appalled that someone would attempt to create mass hysteria which could have endangered lives," Walters said. "We want the public to be assured that if a tsunami watch or warning has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands, VITEMA would have been the first to receive the official notice and VITEMA would immediately notify first responders and the public."
There is no way to determine who sent the message, Walters said.
According to Walters, VITEMA is working on tsunami alert systems for the territory. He said he’s discussing a plan with Innovative Telephone to send alerts to people via land lines, cell phones, fax machines, email, and even Sony Play Stations.
"Not one system is going to reach 100 percent of the people," he said.
Walters also said that requests for proposals have gone out for companies to bid on installing evacuation route signs to be used in case a tsunami threatens.
"I’m hoping in the next few months to see the fruition of all these things we’ve been working on," Walters said.

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Ignore any messages concerning a tsunami about to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's a hoax, said V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Mark Walters.
"It spread like wildfire," he said of the bogus message.
Walters first learned of the hoax Wednesday when parents began pulling their children out of schools. He said that people are already "unnerved" due to the earthquake in Haiti and earthquakes and tsunamis in other places around the world. This apparently prompted people to quickly forward the email message when they received it.
The prank message indicated that an 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit Venezuela and that tsunami warnings were issued for the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The message indicated the tsunami would hit the Virgin Islands at 1:14 a.m., but Walters said it didn't indicate the day.
Walters immediately checked with the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center to ascertain that no earthquake had occurred and that no tsunami warnings were issued.
"We are appalled that someone would attempt to create mass hysteria which could have endangered lives," Walters said. "We want the public to be assured that if a tsunami watch or warning has been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands, VITEMA would have been the first to receive the official notice and VITEMA would immediately notify first responders and the public."
There is no way to determine who sent the message, Walters said.
According to Walters, VITEMA is working on tsunami alert systems for the territory. He said he's discussing a plan with Innovative Telephone to send alerts to people via land lines, cell phones, fax machines, email, and even Sony Play Stations.
"Not one system is going to reach 100 percent of the people," he said.
Walters also said that requests for proposals have gone out for companies to bid on installing evacuation route signs to be used in case a tsunami threatens.
"I'm hoping in the next few months to see the fruition of all these things we've been working on," Walters said.