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Initial lessons from exercise Caribe Wave 2011

The first full-scale test of the tsunami warning system in the Caribbean highlighted various system problems, according to UNESCO.

The simulated tsunami exercise, ‘Caribe Wave 2011’, was carried out on 23 March, with 34 countries taking part.

Under the test scenario, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of the Virgin Islands, which generated a tsunami with waves reaching up to ten metres in height.

The exercise tested the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (Caribe EWS), which was set up in 2005 under the aegis of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

The exercise highlighted a number of gaps in the transmission of information. In several areas the message was not received by the Global Telecommunications System (GTS). In other cases, reception of messages via the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) failed. At national level only a few mobile telephone operators joined the exercise.

Populations and media throughout the region keenly followed the exercise, which also allowed for an evaluation of evacuation plans and the role of the private sector in the case of a catastrophe.

The complete results of the test run will be presented at the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for CARIBE EWS, which will take place on April 26-29, 2011, in the Dominican Republic.

•Date: 29th March 2011 • Region: Caribbean •Type: Article •Topic: BC testing

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