The Bahamas, through the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, participated in a regional simulation Tsunami Readiness Exercise “CaribeWave 18” on Thursday, March 15. The Tsunami exercise is conducted yearly in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands under the direction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii. The objective of CaribeWave18 was to validate preparedness response to tsunamis (that is test protocols and communication systems between tsunami warning centers and the tsunami warning focal points). Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA said he was pleased the country was able to participate in the exercise. “Generally, the aim was achieved to a satisfactory standard. All key participants at the local, national and regional levels were notified in a timely manner, to be able to adequately respond to the impending impact,” Captain Russell said.
He added, “Our aim, upon receipt of information of a pending impact, was to activate our local response mechanisms and to test our communications systems to ensure that the information was disseminated to all islands earmarked for impact and the general public in a timely manner.”
During the simulated exercise, the National Emergency Operations Centre was activated so as to monitor the situation and get advisories to the public to ensure they take necessary safety measures. The exercise for The Bahamas scenario was conducted between 10am to 11:10am. NEMA, in collaboration with The Bahamas Department of Meteorology – the country’s Tsunami Focal Point, Bahamas Information Services, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas, all Media houses as well as telecommunications companies BTC and Aliv will continue to work to strengthen the information dissemination process to ensure that all sectors of The Bahamas, whether being impacted or not, are able to get the right information, simultaneously and in a timely manner, Capt Russell said.