Attorney-General, Adriel Brathwaite (FP)

What went wrong in Japan on March 11, 2011, and what can Barbados do to avoid something similar occurring should a tsunami strike?

Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku Province, Japan which claimed the lives of 20, 000 people and left a trail of destruction in its wake.

On Friday, March 9, Deputy Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss will deliver a lecture on: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami One Year Later, at the Henry Fraser Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus at 7:00 p.m.

The lecture is being held under the auspices of Attorney-General, Adriel Brathwaite and the Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards. Mr. Brathwaite is expected to deliver remarks, while Dr. Adrian Cashman of the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) will deliver the welcome remarks.

During that lecture, Dr. Inniss, also the co-chair of the Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards, will present the findings of a study conducted to identify deficiencies in Japan that led to significant loss of life and widespread destruction.

"It is unquestionable that Japan is the best-prepared country in the world to deal with the earthquake and tsunami hazards. Therefore, the Japanese government sought answers regarding the significant loss of life during this last event," she noted.

The Deputy Director explained that a large number of researchers were commissioned to analyse all components of the system and identify deficiencies.

Dr. Inniss said she attended a Japan symposium and study tour last month, and will share the lessons learnt and best practices on Friday during the 45-minute lecture. Those in attendance will be able to see video footage of the tsunami and the destruction and devastation it left behind.

The latest developments of Barbados’ tsunami early warning system will also be addressed during the session. Dr. Inniss added the lecture, which will target the general public, will also look at coastal evacuation and how it is done; debri management after the disaster; loss of agricultural fields; and health issues.

"We will be using Japan as a case study and learn how we [Barbados] can best respond to such an event," she explained. The official added that education was key to saving lives, and encouraged all Barbadians to attend.

Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services, Hampden Lovell will deliver a presentation on Tsunami Warning Focal Point, while Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas will look at the emergency response.


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