Efforts to educate people and prepare them in the event a tsunami affects Barbados are about to intensify.

Last Wednesday’s launch of Caribe Wave 2013 at the Atlantis Hotel formed a major component of the public awareness efforts being put on by the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and the Coastal Zone Management Unit to sensitise the population about tsunamis and other coastal hazards.

These were some of the points raised by Assistant Information Officer at the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), Julia Rawlins-Bentham, during the official launch of Caribe Wave 2013 at the Atlantis Hotel. She also represents the BGIS as Chair to the Public Awareness and Education (PAE) working group of the Technical Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards (TSCCH).

Mrs. Rawlins-Bentham explained that one of the main public awareness efforts was Caribe Wave 2013. This, she said, was a tsunami simulation which involved Barbados participating in a national table top exercise at DEM’s Warrens, St. Michael location, and a community-based scenario in St. John.

During that launch students of the St. Elizabeth Primary School performed a drama and rhythm poetry presentation on the tsunami hazard for those present.

However, Mrs. Rawlins-Bentham added that the ongoing Coastal Hazard Mascot competition was also a part of the education process. She explained that the competition was being hosted by the TSCCH, in conjunction with the BGIS, and was open to Class Three and Four students from both public and private primary schools across the island.

"It is part of the effort to engage and educate children about coastal hazards faced by this country. These hazards not only include tsunamis, but also storm surges, winter swells and hurricanes," she pointed out.

She stressed that the mascot should represent all coastal hazards and be used at any time of the year to highlight the various hazards.

All posters for the competition must be original and displayed on Bristol board 20×14 inches and presented using any medium. The submitted entries will be judged on creativity, colour, concept and originality. They should also show what the mascot should like, and be accompanied by the name, age, school, class and class teacher of the entrant.

Completed entries for the mascot competition should be submitted to the DEM or the BGIS on Bay Street, St. Michael, no later than 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 28.

The PAE Chair further noted that officials from DEM and the St. John District Emergency Organisation would also be visiting the Mount Tabor, St. Margaret’s, St. John and Society Primary schools during this month to educate them about the hazard.

In addition, there are plans to host a movie night at the popular Bay Tavern in Martin’s Bay, St. John and also a Moonlight Movie Night on the basketball hard court at Gall Hill, St. John. The dates for these events are yet to be confirmed.

Mrs. Rawlins-Bentham added that information on the tsunami hazard would be placed on radio and television, while there were also plans to host a lecture at a date still to be decided. There will also be a planned East Coast guided bus tour slated for March 10.????


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