Members of the Emergency Response Departments participating in the tsunami training exercise.
ST. EUSTATIUS--The St. Eustatius Office of Disaster Management took part in the annual tsunami wave exercise on Thursday, March 23.
Crisis coordinator Andre Bennett said the exercise started at 10:07am with a message sent by email that there was a direct tsunami threat to the island. Immediately, all emergency response departments were called to the table to plan and prepare for the tsunami, which was triggered by a rockslide from the flanks of the volcano in Martinique which caused big waves.
“We were threatened by this tsunami, and immediately the authorities came to the table and decided that priority one was to evacuate the Lower Town from the port area to Smoke Alley,” Bennett said.
The second area to be evacuated was Upper Town Oranjestad 200 metres away from the cliff and inward in the direction of Earl N. Merkman Sport Hall on Sandy Road to avoid any possible effects from the tsunami.
At Zeelandia Bay, the authorities also looked into the lower-lying area and decided to evacuate that area 300 metres from the coastline to safeguard lives. The exercise concluded a little after 12:00pm.
“This was actually a good exercise again for us this year, putting our plans into play and also checking the response time from the Emergency Response Departments,” coordinator Bennett said.