Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Increased Volcanic Activity May Affect Eastern Caribbean

U.S. Embassy Port of Spain

The Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (UWI-SRC), St. Augustine, Trinidad has notified authorities in the Eastern Caribbean that there has been heightened seismic activities at “Kick ‘Em Jenny,” which is an underwater volcano located in the Southern Grenadines. This activity is being closely monitored by the UWI-SRC and further updates will be issued as more information becomes available.

An eruption of this volcano could trigger a large tsunami that would affect the Eastern Caribbean region; however, there has been NO/NO Tsunami warning at this time.

The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) in San Jose, Costa Rica with responsibility for Trinidad and Tobago is also monitoring the situation via the Seismic Research Centre website.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has advised RSO that they are monitoring the situation via the UWI-SRC as well and are tracking the activities at “Kick em Jenny,” as they relate to any possible affects to TT or the region if their assistance is required. ODPM is currently advising persons located near the North and East coasts to know their evacuation routes and shelters, as well as identifying higher level locations above 20 feet including buildings or pathways for evacuation. They have also advised the Regional Corporations to “Activate” their Emergency Operation Committees.

RSO continues to closely monitor the situation and encourages employees and family members to monitor the following local Emergency Management Organizations, as well as local TV and radio stations for updates on the situation and information on emergency preparedness.

TT Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management: http://www.odpm.gov.tt/

TT Tobago Emergency Management:www.tema365.com/

The Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies: http://www.uwiseismic.com/

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDEMA): http://www.cdema.org/

While Tsunami’s are not common to Trinidad and Tobago, please familiarize yourself and your family with the following safety measures to take in the event of a Tsunami also found on the UWI-SRC website referenced earlier in this message.

TSUNAMIS
Safety

Sensing a tsunami

Scientists in the region are currently in the process of developing a Caribbean tsunami early warning system. Until the system is developed, we may receive warnings from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center whose specific responsibility is for Pacific Ocean tsunami. In the mean time, tsunamis can fortunately be detected using our human senses. Everyone should be able to recognize a tsunami’s natural warning signs.

FEEL

  • Strong local earthquakes may cause tsunamis.
  • FEEL the ground shaking severely?

SEE

  • As a tsunami approaches shorelines, the ocean may pull back from the coastline significantly, exposing the ocean floor, reefs and fish.
  • SEE an unusual disappearance of water?

HEAR

  • A roar like an oncoming train or plane may be heard as a tsunami rushes toward the shore.
  • HEAR the roar?

RUN

  • Don’t wait for official evacuation orders.
  • Immediately leave low-lying coastal areas e.g. beaches.
  • Do not try to surf the tsunami.
  • Move inland to higher ground.
  • RUN if you see a tsunami coming!

What to do

The following are some guidelines for protecting yourself before, during and after a tsunami.

Before a tsunami

  • Find out if your home is in a danger area by knowing the distance it is from the coast.
  • If you live in a low-lying area – for instance near to the beach – learn the quickest way to get to high ground. A safe area would be at least 30m (~100feet) above sea level and 3km (~ 2miles) inland. Teach and practice the evacuation plan with all family members.
  • Currently, there is no Caribbean tsunami early warning system so ensure that all family members know how to recognize natural tsunami warning signs.
  • Discuss tsunamis with your family and friends. Everyone should know what to do in case all members are not together.
  • Emergency items such as canned foods, medication, flashlights, battery-operated radios, bottled water and First Aid kits should be readily available and working properly.

During a tsunami

  • If you detect signs of a tsunami evacuate and move to higher ground at once.
  • If possible, stay tuned to a radio, or television or log on to the RC website at www.uwiseismic.com(http://www.uwiseismic.com/) to get the latest emergency information.
  • Never go down to the beach to watch for a tsunami. If you can see the wave, you are already too close to outrun it.
  • A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves that can come ashore for hours. The first wave may not be the largest. Stay out of danger areas until an “all-clear” is issued by a recognized authority e.g. your local disaster management office.

After a tsunami

  • If possible, stay tuned to a radio, or television or log on to the SRC website at www.uwiseismic.com(http://www.uwiseismic.com/) to get the latest emergency information.
  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Keep out of stagnant water.
  • Open windows and doors to help dry buildings.
  • Shovel mud while it is still moist to give walls and floors an opportunity to dry.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Check food supply and test drinking water.
  • Fresh food that has come in contact with flood water may be contaminated

See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Read the Country Specific Information for Trinidad and Tobago. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s Web site.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Trinidad and Tobago enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) or https://tt.usembassy.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have internet access, you can enroll in person at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1 888 407 4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1 202 501 4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8) to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain is located at 15 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain. Routine services are by appointment only. To schedule your appointment, please visit https://tt.usembassy.gov, emailacspos@state.gov or call 868 622 6371. U.S. citizens in Trinidad and Tobago who need emergency services should call the Embassy at 868 622 6371 for assistance.