Barbadians responded to this morning’s earth tremor much better than they did to the 2007 earthquake, which had evoked panic and alarm.
Lorna Inniss, acting director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, gave this assessment today during a media briefing at the Department of Emergency Management.
Inniss said based on the response of average Barbadians who participated in call-in programmes following this morning’s event, it was evident that public education, limited though it might be, had proven to be effective.
“We still have quite a lot of work to do, but I am heartened by the improvement in the response from the public, and I was listening to those who called in and I could tell that they knew more than they knew in 2007 and that’s important,” she said.
Inniss also noted that the tremor did not trigger a tsunami threat, as was rumoured on some social media platforms.
However, she said: “We would have been able to look at our sea level data afterwards and see there was no change in sea level, because there was no tsunami.”
However, Inniss noted that over the last 24 hours the North Atlantic was seismically active as there were a number of small tremors recorded.
“There was a tremor that was recorded in the Virgin Islands, there was a tremor that was recorded in Puerto Rico, there was a tremor recorded in the Canary Islands and all of that is in the North Atlantic where we are. And so it seems as if we may have and a period of heightened seismic activity in this particular region over the last 24 hours.”
“The question on everybody’s mind would be: is it done or are there more to come? And this is our biggest challenge dealing with earthquakes . . . . We have a lot of unknowns. Some people talk about, isn’t there a warning for earthquakes? Not really, you can only say, ‘Well I’m gonna build a certain way, I am gonna prepare as much as possible and I am gonna know how to respond’. But it is hard to say when one [an earthquake] is going to occur and where it will be,” the director said.
The last time Barbados was impacted by earthquakes was last year when two occurred on December 15 and 16. The first, which occurred to the south of the island, measured 3.8 on the Richter scale. The second was slightly weaker, magnitude 3.6, and struck to the north of Barbados. (