More people are seeking to find out about the earthquake and tsunami hazards and how they should get prepared.
That is the assessment of Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, as she gave a summary of the month-long activities to mark Tsunami and Earthquake Smart Month, themed: Road to Tsunami Recognition.
“This year, I saw an increased awareness and engagement of all the partners…. I am happy to see the increased awareness and engagement, and that zest to really improve our state of affairs and our state of readiness in Barbados,” she said, while cautioning that the island still had a way to go.
Ms. Hinds also lauded the Holetown community’s involvement during the just-concluded Caribewave exercise, noting that there was a mix of public and private sector involvement.
“That was a national exercise focused in the Holetown area…. We tested the communications system from end to end – from the first point at the Pacific Tsunamic Warning Centre straight to the man on the street when they received the messages via the emails, radio interrupts and various sirens,” she explained.
The Director added that based on hearing the message, participants were required to evacuate their various businesses and residences. “We had a fairly good exercise. We saw the participation of businesses, such as hotels, banks and also schools. We also had the evacuation of the Holetown Police Station,” she recalled.
Ms. Hinds noted that several earthquake and tsunami awareness sessions were conducted with Fifth and Sixth formers, members of the Technical Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards, and other participating agencies during the month-long activities.
She added that activities for the month included movie nights; the erection of a sign at Sherman’s, St. Lucy; and a Run Tsunami Run 5K Walk/Run. “We really wanted to go into communities and ensure that they were getting the messages that we wanted to relay,” she emphasised.
Ms. Hinds noted that the increased interest in the hazards reinforced the need for greater awareness at all levels among all stakeholders. It also enhanced, she said, awareness of the need for resilience, vigilance and the redoubling of efforts in the face of disaster events that affect communities, investments, livelihoods and the country.