» Half a million people take part in CARIBE WAVE 17 tsunami drill
28.03.2017 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Half a million people take part in CARIBE WAVE 17 tsunami drill

©José Donderis: Panamanian community takes part in CARIBE WAVE 17 tsunami drill.

Close to half a million people from Bermuda through Brazil and across the entire Caribbean basin participated in the CARIBE WAVE 17 tsunami exercise held on March 21, 2017, under the coordination of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

This level of participation makes CARIBE WAVE exercise yet again the largest international tsunami drill in the world. The participants hailed from 32 nations and 15 territories* of the IOC-UNESCO Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunamis and other Coastal Hazards for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE EWS), which has coordinated the CARIBE WAVE drills since its establishment in 2006 after the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami led to the recognition of a tsunami threat in the Caribbean.

Registered participants included designated CARIBE EWS Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) and National Tsunami Warning Centers (NTWCs), as well as emergency and preparedness organizations, K-12 Schools, government agencies, colleges and universities, healthcare and hotels, critical facilities, among others.

Each country chose one of the three CARIBE WAVE 2017 scenarios: Costa Rica, Cuba or Northern Lesser Antilles. Over 65 of simulated international and domestic messages were disseminated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC).

Sirens, emails, emergency alert systems, text messages, media outlets, NOAA weather radio, and social media were used for local dissemination. In addition to the communication tests, exercises were conducted at various levels of magnitudes and sophistication including seminars, table top exercises, video/web conferencing, drills and full scale exercises as for the French Antilles with mobilization of aid forces from Europe.

The CARIBE WAVE 17 exercise successfully tested recently developed tsunami products and helped disseminate these products within the participating countries, rendering affected populations more ready to respond to a tsunami.

*Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France (Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin), Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius), Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom (Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos), United States (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

National media coverage of CARIBE WAVE 17:


British Virgin Islands

Saint Kitts & Nevis

For more information, please contact:

Bernardo Aliaga, IOC-UNESCO (b.aliaga(at)unesco.org)

Christa G. von Hillebrandt-Andrade, NOAA NWS Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program (christa.vonh(at)noaa.gov)

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