Over the last year, St. Kitts-Nevis has been participating in a Tsunami Ready Recognition Pilot Project, under the auspices of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) for Tsunamis and other Coastal Hazards.
In undertaking the project, and in keeping with criteria for recognition, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) coordinated various activities including the development of Tsunami Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures, the establishment of a 24 hours Tsunami Warning Center at Police Headquarters, St. Kitts and Charlestown Police Station, Nevis, development of a Tsunami Evacuation Map for both St. Kitts and Nevis, the placement of signs on both islands and having an Emergency Operations Center on both islands.
Monday 17th October, 2016, the Tsunami Ready Recognition Board conducted a verification exercise on St. Kitts-Nevis following which the Federation was duly certified. During a special ceremony Thursday 20th October, 2016 in Trinidad and Tobago to commemorate the first ever World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5th November, 2016, Mrs. Claricia Langley-Stevens, Deputy National Disaster Coordinator at NEMA, was presented with the Tsunami Ready Recognition Certificate. The certificate which was issued in the name of Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister, was presented to Mr. Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security, by the Deputy National Disaster Coordinator, during a brief ceremony Tuesday 25th October, 2016. Two (2) of the tsunami signs that will shortly be erected throughout St. Kitts and Nevis, and the evacuation maps were also presented during the ceremony.
Upon accepting the certificate, Mr. Petty thanked management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD), members of the tsunami working group including the Police, the Department of Physical Planning and local consultants. He also acknowledge with gratitude, several key donors and stakeholders including the USAID Office Of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UNDP, UNESCO, the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Programme at the University of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center on Barbados, for their contributions towards the Federation receiving such recognition. Mr. Petty appealed to the public for ongoing support to the disaster management departments in the Federation and joined in their call for the public not to panic, as a tsunami is not expected, but that the activities such as the signs and maps are components of ongoing tsunami preparedness activities. The handing over ceremony, was the first event to launch a series of tsunami evacuation public education and awareness activities, which will also include the distribution of maps, erecting of signs and a live radio and television discussion to address the tsunami hazard.