10.10.2016 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

More than a thousand people involved in tsunami evacuation drill in the Dominican Republic

Map of Tsunami Evacuation Drill Coverage in Haina Municipality, Dominican Republic © Project "Actions to Save Lives"

San Cristobal - About 1,300 people in Haina, Nigua, and Palenque municipalities participated in the tsunami evacuation drill organized by the National Emergencies Commission (CNE) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in the context of the project "Actions to Save Lives".

The exercise aimed at evaluating the municipalities’ emergency plans, contingency plans, protocols and tsunami evacuation maps. "Action protocols of local authorities and emergency were evaluated, in coordination with national authorities, including the Center for Emergency Operations (COE) and the National Bureau of Meteorology (ONAMET) as part of the CNE. Another major outcome of the drill was its contribution to training people on the best reactions in cases of earthquake and tsunamis. Unlike cyclones, earthquakes can’t be predicted, their season is all year round and a well-educated, well-informed population is more likely to act appropriately in a real incident, "said Bernardo Aliaga of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

The evacuation drill was based on a fictional scenario of a magnitude 8.4 earthquake in the northern coast of Venezuela, creating a tsunami that hit the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. A video (in Spanish) was subsequently produced to showcase the evacuation exercise and its participants, with emphasis on the important of providing robust training and education on tsunamis to at risk communities.

The tsunami drill was organized by the National Emergency Commission (CNE) – through its Center for Emergency Operations (COE) as the operational arm –, the National Meteorological Office (ONAMET) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in the context of the project "Actions to Save Lives: disaster preparedness and seismic risk reduction and tsunami on the south coast" implemented by the consortium of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), IOC-UNESCO and the Assembly of Cooperation for Peace (ACPP). The project is funded by the Disaster Preparedness Programme of the European Commission (DIPECHO) under the 2015-2016 Action Plan for the Caribbean.

Subsequent to the tsunami evacuation drill, the IOC-UNESCO released a report in Santo Domingo, identifying ten credible sources of tsunami activity in the Caribbean that could impact the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. The report is available in English and Spanish.

For more information, please contact:

Bernardo Aliaga (b.aliaga@unesco.org)

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