The City of Fort-Liberté, Haiti to be Tsunami Ready

As per news dated September 28, 2018, the commune of Fort-Liberté (North-East) has become ready to receive the "Tsunami ready" label, for its compliance with international requirements for tsunami preparedness and response. However, as per Dr. Jerry Chandler, the Director of Civil Protection, "this recognition does not mean that the commune is now completely safe from tsunamis. It only confirms the relevance of the initiatives, which have been taken in recent years, to make the Fort-Dauphinoise community ready to react in the event of a tsunami warning." In the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis were recognized as Tsunami Ready by UNESCO in 2016 and in the Pacific, Cedeño, Honduras and Ostional, Costa Rica in 2017. Currently, Tsunami Ready pilots are also underway in Haiti, Grenada, and Costa Rica, and in several other Latin American countries. In the Pacific, Guatemala, Mexico, and Nicaragua in Meso-America, Ecuador in the South East Pacific, and Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu in the South West Pacific have indicated interest.

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In 2017, the Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre (CTIC) of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) took important steps to improve early warning systems, public awareness and preparedness in the region. The Kingdom of Netherlands provided a contribution of €80,000 on this account.

'Tsunami' is a Japanese term meaning wave 'nami' in a harbor 'tsu'. Tsunamis are a series of long waves of extremely long length and period, usually generated by disturbances associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean floor. The tsunami waves can reach enormous dimensions and travel across entire ocean basins with little loss of energy. Tsunami wave travels as fast as a modern jet airliner - up to 800 km/h. Generally, if an earthquake is over 6.5 on Richter scale and is happening at between 0 and 5 kilometers depth beneath the sea floor, the monitors set up to record earthquakes around the planet can send out a tsunami warning.

Some of the criteria to get Tsunami Ready label, are: (a) Schools, playgrounds, hospitals, factories and homes should not be built in areas vulnerable to tsunamis; (b) A 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; (c) Have more than one way to receive tsunami warnings and to alert the public; (d) Have more than one way to receive tsunami warnings and to alert the public; (e) Promote public readiness through community education and the distribution of information; (f) Develop a formal tsunami plan, which includes holding emergency exercises.

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