News Releases

CDEMA launches public awareness programme to educate region about Tsunamis

For Release Upon Receipt - October 27, 2009

St. Augustine

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will launch the public awareness component of the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System (TCHWS) project on Wednesday 28th October, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

"CDEMA's extensive reach within the regional disaster management community ensures that the material produced under the project will be widely disseminated," commented Dr. Richard Robertson, Director of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre (SRC), adding that he was pleased to be collaborating with CDEMA on the TCHWS project.  

Dr. Robertson further noted that, "The involvement of the SRC also means that the information will be scientifically sound."

The launch of the Tsunami Awareness programme precedes two days of workshops on October 28th and 29th and a public awareness programme in four pilot states. The workshops will bring together curriculum development, education and communication specialists, national disaster officers and scientists from all eighteen CDEMA participating states. The sessions are designed to facilitate the introduction, review and enhancement of draft educational and public awareness products which are to be used in the campaign to prepare CDEMA states to respond to tsunamis and other coastal threats. The workshops will also provide opportunities for the further development of country-specific tools and material for use in individual states. 

CDEMA’s Executive Director Jerry Collymore describes the public awareness programme as “fundamental” to disaster risk management in the region, adding that education and awareness are important pillars for building a culture of disaster risk reduction, a new element of the CDEMA mandate.

“The Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Project is part of the regional agenda to address all critical to engaging a diversity of new stakeholders and partners,” he said. 

The products under review include a suite of multimedia products for use among the general populations and teacher educational material for the 12-15 year old age group. The material is being developed by The University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Centre (SRC) as part of the TCHWS project’s efforts to support the proposed Caribbean Tsunami Warning Centre.

Minister of State with responsibility for disaster management, Donna Cox, Executive Director of CDEMA, Jeremy Collymore, and Trinidad and Tobago’s National Disaster Coordinator, Colonel George Robinson, are among those expected to attend.

The TCHWS project began in 2007 and has been funded with approximately US$475,200, by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This project supports the development of a comprehensive tsunami and other coastal hazards warning system for the Caribbean and adjacent regions currently being coordinated by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE). The project will end in March 2010.

The workshops are being organised in association with the Office of Disaster Preparedness in Trinidad and Tobago and facilitated by the SRC.

For more information about CDEMA’s Tsunami public awareness programme, click here: For more UWI News, click



The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) was established in September 1991, after the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM came to an agreement that a means of addressing the occurrence of natural disasters in Caribbean countries needed to be put in place. The CDEMA was established thereafter, its main function being “to make an immediate and coordinated response to any disastrous event affecting any participating state, once the state requests such assistance.” To date, there are eighteen participating states, which include Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Turks & Caicos. On April 2nd, 2009, the CDEMA signed a memorandum of understanding with The UWI, to symbolise the commitment, made by both institutions, to work together to build resilient communities which will stand strong in the face of natural disasters. The UWI has also established the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, launched on July 26th, 2006, which will complement the CDEMA’s work in disaster management.


About UWI Seismic Research Centre

Established in 1952, the Seismic Research Centre is a Centre within the UWI operating the largest network of seismographs and other geophysical instruments in the Caribbean region.  The SRC monitors earthquakes and volcanoes for most of the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean, and conducts education and outreach activities in those islands. The SRC is involved in a regional effort to establish a tsunami warning system for the Caribbean. 


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.


  • Stacey Edwards, Admin. Officer - Education & Outreach, Seismic Research Centre

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