With just two hours to prepare for the impact of ???tsunami waves??? coming across the ocean, teachers and students at The Alleyne School started an immediate evacuation today.
At around 9:50 a.m., the school, located in Belleplaine, St. Andrew, received the ???warning call??? from the Ministry of Education, signalling the start of the largest tsunami evacuation to ever be undertaken in Barbados as part of the annual Caribe Wave Exercise.
Approximately 800 students were evacuated and taken across rough terrain to the nearby Belle Hill, under the supervision of their teachers and emergency officials, in an effort to ???escape the tsunami waves???.
Like any other drill, there were some ???hiccups??? along the way, including the teachers and students who turned back for things they forgot in classrooms, those who were left behind and those who fell ill. In addition, some parents did not give permission for their children to take part in the exercise.
After the all-clear was given around 10:33 a.m., the students and their teachers were allowed to return to the school, where they assembled in the hall.??Exercise Director, and Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, commended them for ???a job well done???, and thanked them for taking part in the regional Caribe Wave exercise which was conducted in 48 countries.
???I really am pleased with the response of The Alleyne School to evacuate the building in record time,??? she said, noting today was the first time a secondary school was used as part of the exercise drill.
However, Ms. Hinds urged the students and teachers to internalise what they learned for future use. She pointed out that while emergency officials were on hand as a part of the exercise, the reality was that if a situation did occur, the Principal, teachers and auxiliary staff would have to take charge of the evacuation.
Consultant with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Major Earl Arthurs, also commended the students, and noted that the exercise went well.??However, he encouraged them to remain in their groups where possible during an evacuation, and be as silent as possible so they could hear the instructions being given.
Today???s Caribe Wave exercise was based on an offshore 8.5 magnitude earthquake north of Panama, which generated a tsunami that impacted the entire Caribbean Basin.