The International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC), in collaboration with the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) and the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program (CTWP) of the United States, with the support of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office for Barbados and the OECS through the Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean (ERC) Project recently hosted a workshop on Strengthening Standard Operating Procedures for Tsunami Warning and Emergency Response, on 4 – 8 November 2013.
This training workshop is the first substantive activity after the recent establishment of the CTIC and targeted Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) and Tsunami Emergency Response (TER) organisations in ten (10) countries in the Caribbean and adjacent region. The 1-week training workshop covered essential topics involved in the end-to-end tsunami warning including event monitoring and detection, threat evaluation and warning, alert dissemination, emergency response, evacuation, and public action. Training also emphasizes the development of sound tsunami warning and emergency response standard operating procedures (SOPs) as a key requirement for a successful end-to-end tsunami warning.
Participants were reminded that an effective tsunami warning system is achieved when all people in vulnerable coastal communities are prepared to respond appropriately and in a timely manner upon recognizing that a potential destructive tsunami may be approaching. Meeting this challenge requires round the-clock monitoring with real-time data streams and rapid alerting, as well as prepared communities, a strong emergency management system, and close and effective cooperation between all stakeholders.
This training workshop will be replicated in Barbados during the week 18 – 22 November 2013 catering to the TWFP and TER in the southern Caribbean, for 10 more countries. All together these trainings will get trained around 100 Caribbean officers to prepare for and deal with tsunami emergencies.
The Indonesian coast, between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, after the earthquake and the tsunami of 26 December 2004. Photo by Evan Schneider © UN Photo
UNESCO supports Member States in improving capabilities for tsunami risk assessment, implementing early warning systems and enhancing preparedness of communities at risk. UNESCO works closely with national institutions and promotes inter-institutional and regional cooperation. Specialized regional centers provide tsunami information that, together with national analysis, is the basis of the warnings issued for the public. In addition, UNESCO promotes community-based approaches in the development of response plans and awareness campaigns which strongly involve education institutions and end-users.