PARIS, France, Monday April 30, 2012 – The Caribbean has yet again been put on notice to prepare for tsunamis.
This warning comes two years ahead of a planned warning system for the region from Assistant Director-General, Wendy Watson-Wright at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
Watson-Wright has urged the Caribbean’s 40 million people to take cases of a tsunami seriously as it was not a case of “when and not if” an earthquake triggered tsunami or one caused by volcanic activity will strike.
She is quoted as saying: “Lurking beneath the azure waters that wash up on countless coastal and island beaches and vacation spots are the potential for a devastating tsunami,” she said.
According to reports, Watson-Wring made the point that since 1498 there were at least 94 tsunamis with run-ups in the Caribbean causing 4, 652 deaths.
She added that the Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System, coordinated through UNESCO-IOC saved lives in the region following an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off northern Indonesia.
She stressed that education programmes allowed those living in coastal communities to mobilise early and move to higher ground.
The Caribbean’s early warning system is expected to be in place by 2014 and will be located in Puerto Rico. Once implemented, it will enhance the Caribbean’s ability to evaluate data and ensure that timely information is passed onto authorities so they can advise the public.