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Caribbean again put on tsunami watch April 30,2012   |  Source: Jamaica Observer

A leading expert at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is urging the Caribbean's 40 million people to be prepared for a tsunami, two years ahead of a planned early warning system for the region.

Wendy Watson-Wright, assistant director-general and executive secretary of the UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, has agreed with other leading tsunami experts that it is a case of "when, not if" the region would be struck by the giant waves triggered by earthquakes and volcanic activity, Watson-Wright noted.

"Lurking beneath the azure waters that wash up on countless coastal and island beaches and vacation spots is the potential for a devastating tsunami," she said.

In addition to the 40 million people living in the region, she said 22 million people visit the Caribbean annually, making the region "extremely vulnerable to the impacts of tsunamis".

Since 1498 there have been at least 94 tsunamis with run-ups reported in the Caribbean region, causing 4,652 deaths, Watson-Wright said.

She said most of these tsunamis were associated with underwater, or what are called submarine earthquakes, although the Caribbean Sea region has all of the potential tsunami-generating sources, such as submarine earthquakes, sub-aerial

 

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