Caribbean Countries Conduct Test of Tsunami Warning System

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 21, 2013

Above: Aruba

By the Caribbean Journal staff

A total of 32 countries in the wider Caribbean basin and beyond conducted a full-scale joint tsunami alert exercise Wednesday.

According to the exercise, an 8.5-magnitude earthquake struck 90 kilometres off the coast of Aruba, generating a Tsunami.

A fictitious alert message was then sent by both the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre, triggering local response plans.

The aim of the test was to determine whether Caribbean countries are “ready to respond” in the event of a dangerous tsunami.

The test was organized under UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

“Previous experience underlines the crucial importance of rapid transmission of information to minimize the damage caused by tsunamis,” UNESCO said.

There have been 75 tsunamis in the Caribbean region over the last 500 years — about 10 percent of all oceanic tsunamis worldwide in that period.

The countries included sovereign nations and territories, from Aruba to Turks and Caicos.

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