The city of St. John’s and two disaster districts – St. John’s City West and St. John’s City South have been designated as being Tsunami Ready through a programme developed by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
This designation means that these areas are better prepared to save lives from tsunamis through planning, education and awareness, and emergency managers have strengthened their local operations.
Prior to attaining the recognition of being Tsunami Ready several activities were completed. These include producing easily understood tsunami evacuation maps, developing and distributing public education materials, holding at least three outreach or educational activities, conducting an annual tsunami community exercise and having a reliable means for a 24-hour warning point to receive official tsunami threats.
At a ceremony Tuesday at the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) Minister with responsibility for Disaster Affairs Hon. Dean Jonas presented tsunami ready certificates from UNESCO to Director of NODS Philmore Mullin and representatives for both districts.
Disaster Coordinator John Dunnah accepted on behalf of his counterpart for St John’s City South Marcus Scott while Tamme Thomas, a resident of St. John’s City West received the certificate on behalf of Blondell Gunthrope-Hopkins District Disaster Coordinator for St. John’s City West.
Minister Jonas says the St. John’s Tsunami Plan is a significant achievement as tsunamis are known to have devastating effects and it is important to have a carefully devised tsunami preparedness plan as one-third of the population resides in St. Johns. According to Director of NODS Philmore Mullin, more districts will be targeted to include Barbuda.
The Tsunami Ready Programme was instituted by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO which is based in France with support from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department’s Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) and the Barbados-based Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre (CTIC)