As you are aware, each year the Territory joins with several other nations to test their tsunami readiness during the annual simulation exercise, Caribe Wave/Lantex. The 2015 exercise, scheduled for Wednesday, 25th March, 2015, simulates an 8.5 magnitude earthquake located just north of Panama in the southwest Caribbean Sea.
Participation in this exercise is particularly significant when you consider the recent spark of earthquakes in the Caribbean, with predictions that suggest that very large magnitude earthquakes could affect the region. Noting the strong 6.5 magnitude quake that occurred 100 miles northeast of Barbados on February 18, Dr. Joan Latchman, Seismologist, Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies, stated it was the strongest tremor since 1980 in the area. This was followed three days later by a 5.1 magnitude quake near Aruba. While both quakes did not cause much damage, they are a reminder that the Caribbean remains a very active seismic zone, prone to earthquakes that can occur at any time.
Last year, we had over 4,500 persons from both the public and private sectors participating and testing the Territory’s tsunami evacuation routes in addition to their disaster procedures for such events. This year, I am again encouraging Government Departments and Statutory Boards to utilise this opportunity to test your earthquake and tsunami plans or procedures. Activities like these help to strengthen the Territory’s Disaster Management Programme, which is highly recognised regionally and internationally.
Please contact the Department of Disaster Management at 468-4200 for registration and information as it relates to this exercise.