The loss of life and damage suffered in the recent earthquake in Honduras serves as a grim reminder of the potential devastation and upheaval that such phenomena can cause in the region.

This was the view of Chairman of the Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS – IV), Deputy Director of the Coastal?? Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss.??

She was speaking at the official opening ceremony of the Meeting being held June 2 – 4 at Hotel Bateliere, Fort de France, Martinique.

Dr. Inniss told the session, which was addressed by Senator Claude Lise, President of the Conseil General of Martinique that "while we deplore the losses incurred with such events, we must emphasise the need to monitor the performance of our early warning system to permit improvements… in preparation for any future alerts."

She noted that "though Governments are grappling with recent outcomes and future uncertainties of the global economic crisis at the domestic level, it is clear that the potential economic impacts of coastal hazards are well enough understood to ensure that this priority will not be removed from the international agenda for many years to come."

The Chairman applauded the Government of the Republic of France for its commitment and concrete actions towards the attainment of a global warning system and its proposal to forge stronger linkages with other member states of the Caribbean region. She also acknowledged the significant contribution of the Government of the USA to the efforts of the ICG Working Groups.

The meeting will examine, among other items, reports from United Nations and non UN organisations, national progress reports, and updates to the CARIBE EWS Implementation Plan. High on the Agenda is the examination of progress towards the Establishment of a Caribbean Tsunami Early Warning Centre (CTWC) and a Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre (CTIC).

Leading the Barbados Delegation to the Meeting is Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas who is accompanied by Senior Information Officer of the Barbados Government Information Service (Ag), Ian Inniss.

Other countries represented are St Lucia, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, USA, France, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Nicaragua.??

Observers are the Conseil General of Martinique, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies, the World Meteorological Organisation Region IV Hurricane Committee, and the Geophysical Centre of the University of Lisbon.

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