Scientists rule out tsunami hitting region
January 21, 2005
Scientists rule out tsunami hitting region

Co-ordinator of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) Howie Prince has ruled out the possibility of a tsunami like the one that killed over 225,000 people in South Asia hitting St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

The tsunamis, triggered by a powerful 9.0 earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on December 26, are blamed for deaths in at least 11 countries on the Indian Ocean.

Speaking during a telephone interview last Wednesday, Prince said that most scientists in the region have ruled out the possibility of a wave of that magnitude hitting here.

However, the earthquake/tsunami disaster has triggered the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) into actions to set up a tsunami early warning system for the Caribbean and to strengthen its search and rescue capability and volcanic contingency planning.

Co-ordinator of CDERA Jeremy Collymore in an article in the Nation newspaper said that the monster tsunami wave, sprung by a magnitude 9.0 submarine quake off Sumatra in the Indian Ocean, has “emphasised the vulnerability” of small island developing states. He further stated the disaster should propel regional governments to recognise the need to go beyond preparing their citizens and agencies to deal with hurricanes.

Collymore said CDERA was having talks with a number of partners, including the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the University of Puerto Rico Seismic Network, the University of the United States Virgin Islands and the Seismic Research Unit at the University of the West Indies to set up a formal tsunami early warning system in the region.

A number of scientists have concluded that Kick ’em Jenny, located eight kilometres north of Grenada, is not a threat now nor in the immediate future. However, disaster officials say there are two known potential sources that can generate tsunamis in the Caribbean.

The underwater earthquake that hit Asia is the biggest since 1964, when a 9.2-magnitude temblor struck Alaska. Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy’s National Geophysics Institute, said that all the planet is vibrating from the quake, which he likened to a million atomic bombs the size of those dropped on Japan in World War II. He said the shaking was so powerful it even disturbed the Earth’s rotation.