How to Prepare for Natural Disasters in the Caribb

The Caribbean is known for hurricanes, but it is also vulnerable to earthquakes. In 2010 Haiti experienced a powerful earthquake of 7.0 which left approximately 220, 000, dead, 300,000 seriously injured and many homeless. The aftershock was felt throughout the Caribbean, including Barbados, Trinidad, St. Lucia, etc. 


On 21stAugust 2018 an earthquake of a magnitude of 7.3 struck near Yaguaraparo, off the north-eastern coast of Venezuela, according to the U.S Geological Survey. It was the strongest to hit the country in a hundred years. The Seismic Research Centre records all information pertaining to earthquake and volcanic activity in the English-speaking Caribbean. The centre is located in Trinidad and recorded an earthquake of 6.9 on the West of Trinidad. Buildings on the island were structurally damaged. The Eastern Caribbean was also widely affected, including Grenada and Barbados.


The Seismic Research Centre lists numerous safety guidelines in the event of an earthquake. Here are some of those safety tips:


Before and During Earthquake


·     If possible, ahead of time, stock up on canned goods, medication, flashlights and items for the First Aid Kit.


·     Place all important personal information (passport, visas, national I.D, etc) in a safe place and if possible keep these documents on you in a plastic pouch.


During the earthquake:


·     If you are inside, remain there. Do NOT venture outside because of unstable structures and more than likely, there will be an aftershock that may cause those structures to crumble. Instead, get under a sturdy desk, table, bed or stand in a sturdy doorway.


·     Do NOT use elevators or stairs.


·     Stay away from glass and large, heavy objects.


·     If in a vehicle, do not park under bridges. Exit the vehicle and find a safe area away from buildings. Be aware of downed powerlines and unstable structures.


After Earthquake


·     Check utilities and switch them off if necessary.


·     Stay away from the beaches in case of a tsunami.


·     Be aware of the aftershock.


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Sandy, Maria, Janet, Tomas, Irma are some of the names that resonate in the mind of many because of the destruction they caused as powerful hurricanes. The Caribbean has survived many hurricanes, and this is how you can too:


·     Listen to the local radio stations for updates. 


·     Make sure that power towers for personal devices are fully charged just in case of emergencies or to stay in contact with family.


·     Have your personal information in a protective pouch in case of evacuation.


·     Be aware of the closest hurricane shelter.


·     Have a well-stocked emergency kit.


·     Make sure your gas tank is full.


·     Unplug electrical devices and appliances.


·     Have candles, flashlights and extra batteries in the event of a power outage.


·     Turn off circuit breakers.


·     Remain indoors during the hurricane until the all-clear is given. Even then, it is advisable not to venture outside. It is possible that live powerlines maybe down.


·     Do NOT walk along beaches or riverbanks.


·     Stay out of floodwater as it may be contaminated with sewage or other harmful bacteria.


·     If caught in a flood, get to high ground.


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Let’s stay safe!