November 9, 2012
NEMO advises Vincentians to take tsunami warnings seriously

Vincentians have been advised not to take tsunami warnings for granted.{{more}}

This week, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) conducted a series of Tsunami Smart Awareness seminars throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The main objectives of these seminars were to formally introduce the Tsunami Smart brand and materials to teachers and stakeholders and engage students in understanding and preparing for geological hazards and the disasters.

Held under the theme “Discovering Earth Science Careers”, these seminars were made possible through collaboration with the Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Ministry of Education.

Speaking at the seminars’ opening ceremony on Monday at the Methodist Church Hall, Dr Richard Robertson said SVG, unlike other countries throughout the world, has never experienced devastating natural disasters such as tsunamis.

He said because of the hazards we experience in the region, because they don’t happen very often, it’s very easy for persons to take them for granted and forget about them.

“The problems with these hazards… volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis is that when they happen, they have significant impact. You don’t have to go very far. You can look at Haiti for earthquakes and Montserrat for volcanic eruptions. If you look at Japan two years ago and even Indonesia, you see what tsunamis could do.

“So, we would like to hope that we don’t have to feel it to understand it. And therefore we don’t need to feel it to respond to it and make sure that we are better prepared for it,” he stated.

The Tsunami Smart teachers training workshop targeted secondary school geography teachers of Forms 1 to 3 and primary school Social Studies teachers (grade 4-5).

The participants were exposed to presentations on tsunami science, impact and safety as well as introduce.

Tsunami Smart Teacher Resource Kits were also distributed. Included in these kits were; Tsunami Smart Teacher Guide Book, Tsunami Smart Student Workbook, Tsunami Smart Teaching Charts, Tsunami Warning Caribbean Cartoon booklet and Tsunami Smart pamphlets.

The Student Workshop/Geoscience Fair targeted secondary school students from Form 2 – (ages 12 to 14) as well as grade five students on the Grenadine Islands of Canouan, Union Island and Mayreau.

The objectives of this fair were to engage students in discovering the Earth sciences. To remind people that Earth science is all around us, motivate geoscientists to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, the Tsunami Smart Train the trainer seminar and Community Information sessions targeted coastal stakeholders and were aimed at sensitizing stakeholders on the region’s vulnerability to tsunamis and to increase awareness of the potential impact of this hazard.

Dr Robertson said all the information that was provided during the week-long session is of great importance and reminded individuals to not take for granted tsunami warnings.

“The warning systems and the sources of tsunamis are such that it is very likely unless the tsunami source is very far that you will get a warning from NEMO or anybody before you get a warning to yourself directly.

“So you need to be tsunami smart. You need to know how to detect the natural warning signs and you need to know what to do,” he said. (AA)