A new agreement has been signed between the European Commission’s General Directorate for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO) and UNESCO for 500,000 EUR to strengthen tsunami early warning capabilities in the Caribbean Region. The 15-month project “Strengthening Haitian capacities for tsunami early warning and preparedness” will offer continuity to ongoing efforts established by the Haitian Government and IOC/UNESCO after the 12 January Earthquake in 2010.
The objectives of the project are to continue to build awareness, knowledge, and response capacity on/for tsunami risks at institutional level. In addition, the new funding will allow to initiate tsunami preparedness initiatives at community level, including public awareness campaigns.
The 8th Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS-VIII) was held at the Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia, 3–6 May 2011 under the Chairmanship of Prof Dr Jan Sopaheluwakan. The Session was attended by 59 delegates and observers from 12 Member States in the Indian Ocean region, 3 Observer States and 9 UN agencies, NGOs and other organizations. The ICG reviewed the progress made by the IOTWS since the last Session, considered the reports and recommendations from its Steering Group, Working Groups and Task Teams, and decided on actions to be implemented in the next intersessional period.
The National Capacity Assessment of SOPAC Member Countries: Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Systems project worked in collaboration with the member countries of SOPAC to assess their capacity to receive, communicate and respond effectively to tsunami warnings. The implementation of the project was led by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in partnership with SOPAC and other key Australian and international tsunami and Disaster Risk Management partners. The project was funded by AusAID. The fourteen SOPAC member countries who participated in the project were the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The ICG/CARIBE EWS-VI (26-29 April, 2011) was attended by 70 participants from 18 Caribbean countries and 3 observer organizations (PNUD, CDEMA and WMO). Main topics discussed during the meeting were the establishment of a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Center (CTWC) in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) in Barbados as well as the lessons learnt and report of the CARIBE WAVE 11 exercise.
The group highlighted the broad participation at the CARIBE WAVE 11 Exercise with 35 participating countries and territories. In addition, 28 local and private institutions submitted reports and at 188 schools and 130 private entities (hotels, ports operators, media outlets) participated. In general terms, there was a generalized satisfaction with the event because most objectives were met. The exercise was useful to identify gaps in the system. The ICG decided to hold new exercise in March 2013.With respect to the CTWC United States recalled that a phased approach has been adopted for the establishment of such a center. The ICG noted progress on this phased approach by US and decided to accept the proposal of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Nicaragua to develop Terms of Reference for a back up center to be established as US plans progress ahead.
A field trip was organized to Matancita, a village that was destroyed by the 1946 and that is implementing tsunami response plans at community level, Delegates were able to interview and exchange views with survivors of the 1946 tsunami.