Tsunami Warning Exercise in the Caribbean and Northwestern Atlantic
31 Members States and 16 territories in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions are preparing to participate in a simulated tsunami alert exercise in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions on 26 March 2014. Participants include almost 1,000 organizations and 100,000 people. The goal is to test the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, which was established in 2005 by the countries of the region in collaboration with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO).
The exercise, titled Caribe Wave/Lantex 14, will simulate a widespread Tsunami Warning and Watch situation throughout the Caribbean and North-western Atlantic which requires the implementation of local tsunami response plans. The scenario developed by the organizers of the exercise begins with a fictitious earthquake and tsunami generated 270 miles west of Gibraltar at 6:00 am Atlantic Standard Time (10:00 UTC -Universal Time Coordinated) on 26 March 2014, modelled after the earthquake and tsunami that occurred on 1 November 1755.
The exercise is designed to test the effectiveness of alert, monitoring and warning systems among all emergency management organizations (national focal points for tsunami alerts, weather forecast offices, national coast guard, etc.) throughout the region. The test is designed to determine whether Caribbean countries are ready to respond in the event of a dangerous tsunami. Previous experience underlines the crucial importance of rapid transmission of information. It has also shown that national authorities must take risk into account at all levels, including education about hazards in schools, urban planning in coastal zones, modification of building codes and materials, evacuation plans for communities and organization of effective emergency services.