GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The National Disaster Management Organization on Sint Maarten, through the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in Cay Hill which is located at the Fire Department will be participating in a regional Exercise called Caribe Wave Lantex 15 on Wednesday, March 25.
The purpose of the exercise is to assist tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent regions, including US and Canadian Gulf and east coasts.
Caribe Wave Lantex 15 is a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Exercise and the Sint Maarten ODM will be testing its communication channels and delivery of the dummy warning messages received from the US Pacific and National Tsunami Warning Centers and disseminated to all stakeholders.
The dummy warning messages are issued to test communications with Tsunami Warning Focal Points and Emergency Management Organizations.
Two exercise scenarios are planned. One entails a tsunami generated by a magnitude 8.5 earthquake located just north of Panama in the southwest Caribbean Sea.
The second scenario is a landslide offshore Florida which generates a tsunami.
The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US National Tsunami Hazard mitigation Program, are the entities involved in carrying out the tsunami exercise on March 25.
The tsunami warning exercise is being conducted to assist tsunami preparedness efforts throughout the Caribbean region. Recent tsunamis, such as those in the Indian Ocean (2004), Samoa (2009), Haiti and Chile (2010), and Japan (2011), attest to the importance of proper planning for tsunami response.
Historical tsunami records from sources such as the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center show that over 75 tsunamis with high validity have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years.
These represent approximately 7-10 per cent of the world’s oceanic tsunamis. Earthquake, landslide, and volcanic tsunami sources have all impacted the region. Since 1843, almost 3,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean.