August 4, 2015
SVG not as prepared as it should be for a tsunami – PM Gonsalves

While St Vincent and the Grenadines is better prepared for a tsunami in recent times, it is not as prepared as it should be.

So says Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in response to a question posed during a press conference last week, about this country’s preparedness in the face of a possible tsunami threat due to recent increased seismic activity at submarine volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny.{{more}}

“We are better prepared than we used to be, but not nearly as prepared as we should be. I must say at the same time that we must be careful not to press the panic button every time that we have some unusual weather activity, including earthquakes,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister noted that when the National Emergency Management Unit (NEMO) director Howie Prince began the tsunami conversation some years ago, persons were questioning his reasoning for speaking about something that happened in the Asian continent and did not seem to relate to the Caribbean.

“But it’s his job to study all the various possibilities and alert us without putting any panic in us,” he said. “You have to listen to the authorities and listen to the scientific data.”

Additionally, Gonsalves, as the minister with responsibility for natural disasters, revealed that he had given Prince the okay to coordinate with the government of Grenada and other authorities on the Kick ‘em Jenny issue, on July 23.

“We were very fortunate that Dr Robertson was here; our Vincentian brother who works at the seismic unit in Trinidad and he advised and in fact had written on the Internet that, look, don’t panic about this, and he predicted it would settle back down and it did,” the Prime Minister said.

Furthermore, he noted that NEMO is focused on educating the public on various disasters and is working on being prepared in event of an issue arising.

On June 23, the islands surrounding underwater volcano Kick ‘em Jenny were put on orange alert after increased seismic activity was observed at the volcano, which signalled a possible eruption within a 24-hour period. This alert level has since been lowered to yellow.(BK)