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Jamaica prepared for earthquake or tsunami - ODPEM

Major Clive Davis
 
Major Clive Davis, Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), has said Jamaica is prepared in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.
 
He made the statement in the wake of Tuesday night's tsunami threat advisories which were issued for several countries in the region, including Jamaica, after an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck in the Caribbean Sea.
 
The tsunami threat was later lifted.
 
One of the concerns being expressed by members of the public is the lack of a national alert system.
 
But according to Major Davis, national response agencies were ready to act once the advisory was received Tuesday night.
 
"We have been doing quite a lot of training in a number of coastal communities - Port Antonio, Annotto Bay, we have worked in the Rocky Point area - all of this aimed at tsunami education... and so, whilst the national machinery would have been in place, we would expect that the citizenry would also respond appropriately and move to higher ground," he reasoned. 
 
Major Davis said an assessment of Tuesday night's response will now be conducted with a view to evaluating what mechanisms were triggered, how they were triggered, whether there were shortcomings on the part of ODPEM, and to determine what was the relationship with the media in terms of getting the information out quickly. 
 
"We must take a look at what happened to make sure that the next time we do it even better," said Major Davis. 
 
For some persons, traditional media and social media played a major role, however, others were only made aware of the tsunami threat on Wednesday morning.
 
Because the possible tsunami would have approached Jamaica from the southern part of the island, Major Davis said it was expected that low-lying coastal areas of southern parishes - stretching from Westmoreland to St. Thomas - would have been most affected. 
 
However, residents of Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine did not take any chances and began evacuating Tuesday night into Wednesday morning after the community's early warning system was activated.
 
The Police have been asked to go to the community to advise residents that it is safe to go back home. 
 


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