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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Tobago

TEMA boss wary of tsunami threat

The Department of Youth Affairs in collaboration with TEMA hosted a disaster preparedness and management workshop at the Calder Hall Community Centre. Participants engaged in hands-on radio communications sessions with TEMA's radio operator Curtis Roberts.
The Department of Youth Affairs in collaboration with TEMA hosted a disaster preparedness and management workshop at the Calder Hall Community Centre. Participants engaged in hands-on radio communications sessions with TEMA's radio operator Curtis Roberts.

Director of the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Allan Stewart has said communities along the island's south-western coastline, including the capital city, Scarborough, are at extreme risk of experiencing a tsunami.

And he urged Tobagonians, particularly those living in such communities, to be mindful of the possibility.

"The risk of a tsunami is very high because we live in a seismic zone," Stewart told Newsday Tobago last Monday after addressing the launch of a week-long disaster management workshop at the Calder Hall Multi-Purpose Facility.

Stewart said Kick' em Jenny, a submarine volcano eight kilometres north of Grenada, posed a threat.

"It is an indication that as Kick' em Jenny grows, although we do not expect, based on its present size and its features, its behaviour, to give you a devastating tsunami,"

He said this situation could change in 100 years "because what you have is a growing volcanic system that is submarine in its type.

"So the visual effects of it is not there. You have to monitor it in order to know."

Stewart said apart from Scarborough, other areas likely to be affected included Crown Point, Store Bay, Buccoo and Lambeau.

He said outside of Kick' em Jenny, there are also other elements that could affect TT and travel within the region.

Stewart said a system moving at between 300 and 400 miles per hour could get to Tobago shores in a very short time.

He said: "There are tele events that can happen outside of the region that could impact the region. For example, it could be down in the Pacific where an earthquake can occur. We didn't hear it. We didn't see it. We didn't feel it and it can impact us as well.

"So, our early morning systems allow for these type of challenges and these phenomenal situations whereby we can respond effectively and alert our population that is at risk."

Stewart said tsunamis have impacted the Caribbean in the past.

"So, there are areas in Jamaica, Port Royal, was once impacted. We have had, in our history, not properly recorded but in some way, records of these events occurring in the past. It is for us to understand our past and know what our future can be like."

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