Categorized | National News

Mock Tsunami Exercise Leaves Bahamians In Frenzy

Panic stricken Bahamians were sent into a frenzy yesterday following news that a 8.9 earthquake had triggered a tsunami off the coast of Africa, some 3,550 miles north east of The Bahamas, generating a series of tsunami waves.

The first set of waves were expected to impact The Bahamas at 2:02pm Wednesday, hitting Mayaguana first before moving through the archipelago, hitting Bimini at 3:12pm before exiting.

As expected, the advisory sent quite a number of Bahamians into a frenzy, some of them rushing to pick up their children from school, others burning up phone lines to find out more.

The good news is that it was just a test – the Carib Wave 14 Exercise of which thousands of other countries participated yesterday.

“We told people it was a test we were conducting to make sure we got the information out to all sectors of The Bahamas. We worked with the Police Control Room and got them to alert some 40 stations. We also got BTC to make contact with all their stations throughout the country,” Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Captain Stephen Russell explained.

“Likewise, my team here at NEMA has been making contact with the various island administrators. We also touched basis with permanent secretaries of key ministries to let them know what we’re doing. Again, it was an exercise to test our alerting system.”

Captain Russell said based on Wednesday’s response, all residents in the Family Islands got the news.

“From this, we will continue to refine our alerting mechanism to make sure we’re getting to all persons in a timely manner of an impending event,” he said.

The Carib Wave 14 Exercise is a timely one considering that in recent months, a number of Caribbean islands have seen seismic activity.

Just this past February, a 6.7 quake struck Barbados.

There were no reports of damage or casualties on Barbados or the nearby islands of Martinique and St Lucia.

The last time Barbados was affected by an earthquake was last year when two occurred on December 15 and 16.
In January, a strong earthquake shook Puerto Rico cracking floors and causing some power outages, but no major damages or injuries, according to officials.

International data indicate that over 75 tsunamis with high validity have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years, representing approximately seven to 10 per cent of the world’s oceanic tsunamis.

Since 1842, nearly 3,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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