By: Sazam Hull
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS) –The Nevis Disaster Management Department, conducted a Tsunami educational Exercise dubbed ‘Caribe Wave 2013’ on the morning of Wednesday, March 21, 2013 at the headquarters in Long Point, Nevis. The exercise was to demonstrate the importance of being prepared in the event of such a disaster.
The event was chaired by Meteorologist, Mr. Ray John of St. Kitts, who shared his wealth of knowledge on the topic
He noted that Tsunamis were ocean waves produced by earthquakes or underwater landslides. The word he stated is Japanese and means ‘harbor wave’ because of the devastating effects these waves have had on low-lying Japanese coastal communities.
John further noted that tsunamis are often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves, but a tsunami he outlined, is actually a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 and up to 600 miles per hour in the open ocean.
John added that tsunamis are most often generated by earthquake-induced movement of the ocean floor, volcanic eruptions and meteorites. He said, if a major earthquake is felt, a tsunami could reach the beach in a matter of a few minutes even before a warning is issued.
He added that the majority of deaths caused by a tsunami occur by drowning due to flooding and water contamination.
In conclusion, Mr. John said that persons in these islands are well versed and up to speed with disasters such as hurricanes and floods but where tsunamis are concerned he was not convinced that persons have the requisite information to survive them.
John stated that there have been a large number of casualties in other parts of the world involving tsunamis because, the residents were either unprepared or lacked the knowledge required to escape them. He hoped that by the end of the exercise persons here would become more sensitized about the natural phenomenon and that information gained from the event would be circulated to all.