Denis Kellman, the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) incumbent for St Lucy, today called on Barbadians to be proactive, instead of reactive to natural disasters.
Speaking during a Tsunami Smart Sign unveiling ceremony in his constituency, Kellman said it was important for the island to take the threat of tsunamis seriously, as Barbados was relatively flat.
“We have to recognize that especially in this area, the sea meets the normal land unlike to the eastern or northern side of Barbados where it is very hilly. This particular area is not and therefore we must take all tsunami threats as serious, even though we do not have any practical experience,” he said during the unveiling at Shermans.
In the wake of last week’s Caribe Wave 2018 exercise, which was held to test the island’s tsunami readiness, Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Kerry Hinds also stressed the need for communities to build resilience through ongoing, sustained public education and outreach.
“Today is not merely about the unveiling of a sign, or about staging another activity on our Tsunami and Earthquake Smart March Month schedule, but more so about promoting community resilience,” Hinds stressed, adding that though tsunamis were an infrequent hazard, it was still important for Barbadians to know the warning signs.
“A tsunami has the potential to cause widespread destruction, including loss of life and property which exceeds that of any other single natural hazard,” she cautioned, after last week’s exercise achieved “moderate success” overall and highlighted the need for some aspects of the island’s Common Alerting Protocol to be tweaked and improved.
“Our focus is on the tsunami hazard, which can affect coastal community landscapes. The erection of the signage is just one tangible way that showcases our commitment to ensuring that the community is aware of the hazards that can affect them, but [we want to ensure] that they are equally aware of the actions they need to take to protect themselves,” the DEM official added.
Earlier this month the DEM had put citizens on guard, after the alert level for Kick ‘em Jenny was raised from yellow to orange.
While urging Barbadians not to be alarmed, Hinds had said that her office was keeping a close eye on developments with the undersea volcano.
An orange alert signals there are highly elevated levels of seismic, fumarolic or other unusual activity at the volcano.
However, scientists at the Seismic Research Center in Trinidad have also assured that there is currently no tsunami threat to Barbados as a result of the increased activity at Kick ‘em Jenny.