Holetown, St James is poised to become the first community in Barbados to achieve the UNESCO internationally approved Tsunami Ready Certificate of Recognition.
Over the next five months, the St James community will engage in the process that involves a range of mitigation, preparedness and hazard response measures.
Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Kerry Hinds made the disclosure today during the launch of the Road to Tsunami Recognition campaign and the unveiling of Barbados’ second tsunami awareness sign at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve.
“This Tsunami Ready Recognition will signify and celebrate our strides and successes nationally and globally as we improve our resilience to disasters,” she said, noting that today’s activity also represented Barbados’ contribution to the second observance of the international World Tsunami Awareness Day, celebrated annually on November 5.
Hinds explained that the process towards achieving international recognition involved several steps, including Barbados having designated and mapped tsunami hazard zones; a public display of tsunami information; easily understood tsunami evacuation maps; the development and distribution of outreach and public education materials and a 24-hour warning focal point to receive official tsunami threats and disseminate alerts to the public.
“This recognition will be in place for a three to four-year period after which we will seek recertification,” the DEM spokeswoman said.
She noted that the journey towards tsunami recognition did not begin today, pointing out that the Technical Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards, co-chaired by the DEM and the Coastal Zone Management Unit, had over the past five years embarked on a programme to reduce Barbados’ vulnerability to the tsunami and earthquake hazards through public awareness and education.