February 25, 2005

Experts meet on Tsunami Early Warning System

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) convened a meeting of regional experts to discuss a Caribbean tsunami early warning system.

This was held as a result of discussions and agreement by the Fifteenth Caribbean Community Council of Ministers Meeting for the establishment of an early warning system. {{more}}

Seismic, disaster management, coastal, and oceanography officials from 12 agencies met in Barbados on February 21, 2005, to review existing monitoring networks within the Caribbean region, examine data sharing among the networks, and plan a programme of action for the way forward.

The meeting:

• 1. Agreed that there is a need for a tsunami early warning system;

• 2. Established working groups to advance the following:

a. Monitoring Network: To determine status of existing seismic and sea level network infrastructure and recommend improvements and/or upgrading of network and devise protocols for data and information sharing;

b. Hazard Vulnerability Assessments: To determine the risk of coastal communities through tsunami flood mapping;

c. Public Education and Information: Design medium to long term education and outreach programmes;

d. Emergency Communication: Establish protocols for different tsunami scenarios between the monitoring networks and emergency management agencies, and design a system to issue messages to the communities under threat;

e. Preparedness and Response Plans: Develop tsunami emergency response plans within the framework of Comprehensive Disaster Management strategy.

• 3. Agreed to refine the implementation plan and budget of the Intra-Americas Sea Tsunami Warning System project proposal to present to CARICOM Heads of Government in July 2005.

The agencies represented at the meeting were:

• 1. Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency

• 2. Coastal Zone Management Unit, Barbados,


• 4. Florida Institute of Technology,

• 5. Montserrat Volcano Observatory,

• 6. National Emergency Relief Organisation, Grenada,

• 7. National Office of Disaster Services, Antigua and Barbuda,

• 8. Office for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Jamaica,

• 9. Puerto Rico Seismic Network of the University of Puerto Rico,

• 10. Puerto Rico and Florida Sea Grant Programmes,

• 11. Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies,

• 12. US Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance/Agency for International Development.