The department of Communications on St. Maarten is reporting that a small work group has been formed, comprising of personnel from within the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) that falls under the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), to assess and ensure National Tsunami Preparedness within Government and to develop a national tsunami preparedness plan.
Last Tuesday a meeting chaired by the EOC Disaster Coordinator and Fire Chief Clive Richardson, and supported by ESF-10 Coordinator and Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Miguel de Weever, brought together various government agencies that forms part of the work group.
During the discussions, members of the work group were of the opinion that Hurricane Irma has thought us many valuable lessons and one needs to ensure that we have an improved plan to execute and protect life, community and property on Sint Maarten during a natural disaster.
The WG will also be looking at the various forms of warning systems to ensure that the country has a comprehensive and effective system such as a siren alarm system and/or using electronic messaging via Smart Phones to alert the population on what action is required. The system should also be able to issue messages in various languages.
A tsunami is a very large ocean wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption. In the past 500 years there have been ten confirmed earthquake-generated tsunamis in the Caribbean Basin with four causing fatalities. An estimated 350 people in the Caribbean were killed by these events.