Caribbean Tsunami Early Warning Systems
What is A Tsunami Early Warning System
An early warning system enables us to detect tsunamis and issue warnings to prevent the loss of life and property.
An “end to end” tsunami warning system has four key elements:
Knowledge becomes even more critical if warning times are short – or there is no warning at all – in which case people must know how to react immediately.
This section of the system complements the other three elements as it provides the education and awareness activities to ensure that coastal and other at risk communities are prepared to respond to a tsunami threat.
Given the nature of tsunamis, warning systems are generally coordinated on a regional basis and are complemented by sub-regional and national systems.
Do we have a Caribbean Tsunami Early Warning System
Currently, there is no comprehensive Caribbean tsunami early warning system. With the support of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions including Central America and South America (ICG/CARIBE), is coordinating the efforts of seismic monitoring and other technical agencies in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions in the process of developing a tsunami and other coastal hazards warning system for the region, called the (ICG/CARIBE EWS) The ICG/CARIBE EWS however may take several years to be fully established. In the mean time, there are many interim arrangements and activities which are supporting the functioning and development of a tsunami early warning system for the Caribbean.
If an earthquake occurs that can or has triggered a tsunami that may affect the Caribbean, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions except those in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Publicising this warning within countries, however, is the responsibility of key local agencies, including the National Disaster Management Organisation. The Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System Project is a first-of-its kind initiative, which sought to develop protocols for the dissemination of warning information, as well as public awareness and teacher education materials, both relating to tsunamis and other coastal hazards.
The Inter-Governmental Framework for the Development of a Warning System in the Caribbean
The ICG CARIBE was established in 2005 as an immediate action and response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The Caribbean warning system, unlike for other regions, has a multi-hazard approach and focuses on all coastal hazards. This Intergovernmental Co-ordination Group is comprised principally of Member States of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and regional organizations from the Wider Caribbean Region.
The group meets on a regular basis to discuss technical monitoring and warning dissemination needs and improvements, coordinate risk assessment and preparedness activities, and share national experiences in building tsunami awareness through education outreach.