SAN JUAN – 50 Caribbean and North Atlantic countries and territories will take part this week in a tsunami drill promoted by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, or RSPR.
Tsunamis are blamed for at least 3,510 deaths in the Caribbean since 1842, according to the RSPR, which is part of the Geology Department at the University of Puerto Rico.
At 10:00 a.m. Wednesday a simulated alert will be issued for a mganitude-8.5 earthquake off the Atlantic coast of Panama.
“Recent events, such as those that affected the Indian Ocean in 2004, Samoa in 2009, Haiti and Chile in 2010, and Japan in 2011 show that proper planning for tsunami response is vital,” RSPR said.
RSPR director Victor Huerfano said that Lantex – Large Atlantic Tsunami Exercise – has been carried out annually on the Island since 2009 with the participation of all emergency agencies within the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands region.
The goal is to review protocols and communication systems among alert centers and key alert points, like the Seismic Network, the State Agency for Emergency Management and Disasters Administration, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Emergency Alert System.
RSPR said it is not possible to predict when a major earthquake or other tsunami-generating event will affect Puerto Rico.
“What matters is to be educated and prepared for when an earthquake and tsunami happen,” the agency said.
Lantex is an annual exercise along the east coast of the United States and Canada, the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.