Establishment of a Tsunami warning system for the CaribbeanThe first meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions will be held in Bridgetown (Barbados) from 10 to 12 January.
The establishment of the system is a landmark in the Global Strategy for the Establishment of a Tsunami Early Warning System, which is being implemented in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean. UNESCO initiated the Strategy in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004.
About ten major tsunamis have been recorded in the northern Caribbean since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. The most recent, in 1946, claimed 1,800 lives. It was triggered by an earthquake in the Dominican Republic. Recent studies point to risks linked to shifts in the North America and Caribbean tectonic plates and to major undersea landslides off the northern shore of Porto Rico. There are 35 million inhabitants in the region.
Representatives of the 30 countries concerned will take part in the ICG meeting, which follows the International Conference for the Development of a Tsunami and Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean Sea and Adjacent Regions (Mexico City, 1–3 June 2005). The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will open the meeting, which is organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).
Participants will determine, among other things, a plan of action for risk assessment, collection and sharing of data, and emergency management. They will also review the progress in implementing warning systems in other parts of the world.