The tsunami evacuation exercise facilitated by the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) on Friday has increased the level of awareness among residents on tsunami safety and brought to light the need for follow-up programmes especially with the Ministry of Education.
The exercise targeted eight schools – Villa Primary, Grace Christian Academy, Weslyan Junior Academy, Princess Margaret Secondary, Better Chance, Divine Academy, Gospel Light Academy and Zion Primary. Also involved were two pre-schools – Exelcisor and Nazarene and three work places – the Board of Education, Fisheries and the Ministry of Social Transformation. Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) Philmore Mullin said the exercise went well.
“Lots of things went well. There are some things that we need to look at and we have to make some adjustments. We have to do some follow up with the Ministry of Education and that link between the Ministry and the schools will have to be strengthened from a disaster management standpoint”, said Mullin. Principal of the Grace Christian Academy on Rowan Henry Street in Gambles Irma Smith said she thought her students and teachers did very well. “We did not expect anything perfect.
The students took it very seriously. During that time the children become more aware of what a tsunami is all about and how we need to prepare for it. Even if some parents think it’s not relevant it’s very important our children know what to do if such an event should arrive”, said Ms. Smith.
The tsunami evacuation exercise formed part of an international effort called ‘Carib Wave’ which saw the participation of regional and international countries. It is conducted by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Caribbean Regional Stakeholders.