Hazard assessment, warnings, preparedness and research to mitigate the impact of tsunamis and other coastal hazards will all be addressed by the Caribbean Tsunami and Information Centre (CTIC).
And, Acting Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Michael Lashley, has described its establishment on September 2, as a crucial part of the hazard mitigation process for Barbados, the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Barbados and the United Nations Oceanographic Commission in March.
Mr. Lashley made these comments during the official launch of the Centre at Hilton Barbados on Friday. Since its establishment, over 80 people from 25 countries and territories were trained in Strengthening Tsunami Warning and Emergency Response Standard Operating Procedures and the development of associated products.
???Primarily, the Centre will monitor the effectiveness of the tsunami warning system and recommend improvements with regards to communications data networks, data acquisition and analysis, and information dissemination in association with the regional and national warning centres,??? Mr. Lashley said.
He further noted that the Centre would also act as an information resource for the development, publication and distribution of educational and preparedness materials on tsunamis and their hazards.
In addition, the CTIC will also serve as a resource for strengthening the technical and institutional aspects of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning Systems for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions; foster research to prevent the loss of life and minimise property damage; and assist in the establishment of warning and mitigation systems.
???The launch of the CTIC is the rewarding culmination of a long journey which the Barbados Government has supported from the inception,??? he said.
He added that it would also emphasis Government???s commitment to enhancing and advancing national emergency management in Barbados.
Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss, explained that the launch of CTIC represented the culmination of a journey which started over 20 years ago when it was recognised that the region needed protection against the tsunami hazard.
???From its inception, Barbados was at the forefront of this fight. Our technical experts acted on the limited information showing significant impact of the 1755 Great Lisbon earthquake on Barbados and other Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean,??? she said.
Chair of CARIBE/EWS and Manager of the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Programme, Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, said CTIC would lead the implementation of the education and preparedness strategy for tsunamis and other coastal hazards for Barbados and the Caribbean.
The CTIC is presently being hosted at the Department of Emergency Management, Warrens, St. Michael. It is currently receiving funding from the United Nations Development Programme through the Government of Italy???s Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean project.