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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

‘Caribe Wave’ tsunami exercise set for March 23

Mount Pelée in Martinique

By The Star Staff

The Caribe Wave 2023 exercise, whose purpose is to help citizens deal with tsunamis, will take place on March 23 at 10 a.m. in coordination with the commonwealth Bureau for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration (NMEAD), the Caribbean Office of the International Tsunami Information Center and the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, among other state agencies and federal entities.

This year, the simulation will contemplate a tsunami caused by the eruption and collapse of the volcanic flank at Mount Pelée in Martinique.

Caribe Wave is a tsunami drill that has been held in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean for 15 years to educate the region’s populations about what to do if an event of such magnitude occurs and to corroborate the effectiveness of the tsunami alert system, and inter-agency and community communication. It also seeks to evaluate the mobilization of the various immediate response agencies and check the emergency alert system (EAS) operations of electronic media, such as radio, television, cable, and satellite stations.

NMEAD Commissioner Nino Correa Filoameno stressed that “we call on citizens to participate in the Caribe Wave 2023 so that they can practice with their family and have their family plans updated.” At the bureau, we continue to guide and train our people to respond effectively in an emergency,” Correa Filomeno said.

Puerto Rico Seismic Network Director Víctor Huerfano urged citizens to participate in the Caribe Wave tsunami exercise to reinforce emergency family plans, know and practice evacuation routes and identify meeting sites.

Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, director of the Caribbean Office of the International Tsunami Information Center, said “our worst enemy in avoiding disasters is complacency and that the infrequency of the event deceives us into thinking that it is not going to happen.”

“The Caribe Wave Exercise is the ideal opportunity for everyone to review our plans and take action to be ready for when the next tsunami [strikes] our coasts,” she said.

Ernesto Morales, meteorologist and news coordinator at the National Meteorology Service in Puerto Rico, added that “for low frequency events, it is necessary to take this opportunity to put our emergency protocols into practice.”

“If there are failures, it is necessary to update our emergency plans,” he said.

Island Public Safety (DSP by its Spanish initials) Secretary Alexis Torres Ríos stressed that “every year, the NMEAD and the DSP support this drill to guide citizens.”

“We exhort them to register and participate in the exercise so that they are better prepared and can save lives in case a tsunami occurs,” he said.

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