#TurksandCaicos, January 18, 2018 – Providenciales – One day after parts of the Caribbean including Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were put under tsunami alert due to an earthquake in Honduras, the Turks and Caicos DDME was coincidentally holding an earthquake drill; it was a surprise and it was held with public sector staff. It was a surprise and the effort was timely.
“It just shows the importance of drills such as this nature, and so often we take infrequent hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis for granted but these things are real, and we live in the region where, for example, if there is an earthquake for example the one in Honduras last night, the tsunamis reached as far as the Dominican Republic, we’re only 100 plus miles away from the Dominican Republic” said Desmond Lightbourne, DDME Community Preparedness Manager.
The drill was a surprise and while there was some confusion, some bungling here and there… the point of the exercise was to reveal how government workers would respond in the event of a true earthquake emergency.
“With an earthquake, unlike with a hurricane, we do not have forewarning, so an exercise such as this is very timely and definitely important” said Lakeisha Gardiner-Wilson.
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was felt in the Turks and Caicos and it is one of the reasons, the DDME counts it important that the TCI commemorate world Earthquake Awareness Week, which is held in memory of the tragedy where 300,000 people were killed and 1 million people left homeless.
Dr. Virginia Clerveaux said, “If you reflect in 2010, and today is actually the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, scientists are predicting that the Haiti earthquake was not the largest for the region, that we can expect even more. It speaks to the need that every country in the Caribbean need to be prepared. Moreover, tremors from the Haiti earthquake was felt in South Caicos and parts of Grand Turk, it therefore means that we’re vulnerable.”