As they have done in past years, radio amateurs in Puerto Rico took part in the Caribe Wave tsunami exercise on March 21. Tsunami Preparedness Week was March 19-25 for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Caribe Wave is the annual tsunami exercise of the UNESCO Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE-EWS). Its major objective is for countries, emergency managers, and communities at risk to test, validate, and update their tsunami response plans.
“Tsunami occurrences are relatively infrequent in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The most significant historical events happened in 1867 and 1918,” a NOAA/NWS report said. “However, the Puerto Rico Trench and other seismic zones in the Caribbean region are all capable of generating tsunamis. Further, vulnerability [in this region] is very high, due to the high population density near the coast and tourist activities concentrated at the coast.”
In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, Caribe Wave is conducted in coordination with the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (Red Sísmica de Puerto Rico), UNESCO, NOAA, and the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA-AEMEAD). This year’s scenario was an earthquake, with an epicenter at the east of the island of Antigua, generating a tsunami incident for the entire Caribbean. Exercise information can be found on the Tsunami Zone website.