Save yourself first if a tsunami strikes Barbados!
This advice has been given by Deputy Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Dr. Lorna Inniss, as that agency continues to educate the public and create awareness on how people should respond should Barbados be hit by a tsunami.
Speaking during a public lecture entitled: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: One Year Later, which was held in the Henry Fraser Lecture Theatre of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Dr. Inniss, said one of the key lessons learnt was that people should save themselves first.
"Protect yourself first. Perhaps you can run with a little child, but you cannot run with an adult on your back," she pointed out. She added that it has been proven that if a person can get to safety, then they can work on assisting others.
Dr. Inniss warned that staying in the hazard zone could result in a person dying along with those they tried to save.
She explained that over 20,000 lives had been lost in Japan despite the fact that warnings about the tsunami had been 28 minutes in advance. However, she said it was a situation where some residents simply did not evacuate.
"They call it the normalcy by us and the helping by us," Dr. Inniss pointed out.?? She explained that the Japanese held the view that to evacuate meant admitting something terrible was happening.
She said that some remained to help neighbours and friends, and to try to locate others rather than saving themselves.
The deputy director noted that the disaster manager also died in the tsunami trying to get other people to evacuate to higher ground and to safety.
"They said 92.4 per cent of the people who died drowned, some were crushed by falling buildings because of the earthquake," Dr. Inniss recalled, adding that 65 per cent of those who died were over 60 years old.
Noting that Barbados was not immune to a tsunami, the deputy director made it clear that residents should conduct their own evacuation exercises, and prepare for such disasters.