Antigua and Barbuda participates in “Caribe Wave” Tsunami Exercise

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The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) is encouraging participation in the annual Tsunami Exercise “Caribe Wave” on Thursday which tests aspects of tsunami readiness throughout the region.

This activity is conducted by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions associated with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The March 10th tsunami exercise is coordinated with the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the regional body responsible for disaster management.

The threat of tsunamis to the region is real and there have been significant efforts by disaster personnel to enhance tsunami preparedness in Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the region. Several areas here in Antigua have been declared tsunami ready through a UNESCO programme. They are St John’s City and the districts of St. John’s City South and St John’s City West.

To signal the start of Thursday’s exercise, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii is expected to send a mock emergency message to the local Meteorological Office at about 10:00 a.m. after which an alert will be sent to the public via the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). Individuals who have not downloaded the CAP CAP app on their smart phones are urged to do so.

Deputy Director of NODS Sherrod James wants schools and workplaces to test sections of their disaster plan especially relating to tsunamis and moving to safe areas. If a plan is not in place, this is an opportunity to begin working on one.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information, over 83 tsunamis have been observed in the past 500 years throughout the Caribbean and its adjacent regions including Antigua and Barbuda.

Although there have not been any deaths on island from these events, approximately 4,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in other areas in the Caribbean.

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