Disaster preparedness improved

The Public Entity Saba is and has been working on improving its disaster preparedness response capacity over the past few years, writes The Daily Herald. This includes the monitoring and collection of seismic data on the island. This means that the government is aware of the threat posed by any volcanic activity and also is prepared to act if there is a need to,” a statement issued Monday by Saba Government Information Service read.

The statement followed a two-page article on “The Dutch Volcano” published Saturday in the Volkskrant newspaper’s science supplement. In the article, Dutch volcanologists expressed their concerns about increased seismic activity on Saba, which could indicate that the dormant Mt. Scenery volcano is awakening. The report was based on findings by Dutch volcanologists Piet Vroon of Free University in Amsterdam and Manfred van Bergen of Utrecht University, who visited Saba in mid-2014.

Their main concerns were the increasing number of landslides and the disappearance of vegetation on the west-slope of Mt. Scenery. The experts stressed that the observed phenomena did not lead to the conclusion that an eruption would be imminent, because these could also be caused by global warming and or erosion, it was stated. Nevertheless, the volcanologists recommended closer monitoring of seismic activity. They pointed to the risk of the “very steep, unstable slopes, which, in combination with torrential rains and mudslides pose serious danger,” it was stated in the article.

“We have not received any information from experts that there is evidence of increased seismic activity, so we are, therefore, unaware of the source of the reports,” Governor Johnson said in response to Volkskrant’s report. The governor stated that a meeting with Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute KNMI is scheduled for this week, and a statement about the outcome of that meeting would be issued next week, he said.

Since 10-10-10, the Saba government has been in contact with KNMI, which took over monitoring from University of the West Indies’ Seismological Unit to discuss various technical aspects related to monitoring, specifically the type of equipment and how much equipment would be necessary. Experts from the organization have been on the island earlier this month to make an assessment of the equipment and are to return in March with new equipment to be installed in three locations. There is already a fully operational seismometer on the island in St. John’s, it was stated.

However, in the article it was stated that Saba’s seismometer was out of operation “for months.” “If a situation occurs where residents need to be evacuated, there is also an evacuation plan that was tested as recently as 2012, in conjunction with the Dutch military. At that time there was a simulation exercise during which a number of residents were evacuated from the island by a military ship,” the government’s statement read.

seismografie

 

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4 comments

  1. i hears the caribbean expecting a huge earthquake sometime this year so i hopes they have an evacuation plan cause if this earthquake happen the mountain gonna blow

  2. Oh really Saffy?
    What evidence are you basing that on?
    Scientists can only speculate on future earthquakes and volcanic eruptions based on the history of a place and the data they collect from seismographs, etc.
    Our island does need to be prepared in an event of a disaster, because if our sleeping giant awakens we will all need enough time to head for the sea or air.
    However, that doesn’t mean we should be throwing out rash statements about huge earthquakes and our volcano blowing.
    We live on an island that depends on tourism, and people all over the world read this site. We shouldn’t sensationalize or exaggerate what is happening here….which as far as I know isn’t much.

  3. Saffy,

    You know fine and well what you’re talking about, and yet none of those articles show that we will certainly have an earthquake this year, nor that an earthquake would cause Saba’s volcano to blow.

    I do know what I am talking about as well.

    Saba is a part of the Caribbean. The Caribbean is in an active seismic zone. We can have earthquakes anytime, and eventually will have a huge earthquake. No one can say exactly when this will happen. Like I said its based on the history of past earthquakes and the data that is collected from the instruments in place.

    Based on past experience, we have bigger earthquakes every 3-5 years, and that’s why it is said we are due for one. However, we don’t know if that will happen tomorrow, next year, or three years from now.

    Because we live in an active seismic zone, there are other volcanoes in the Caribbean besides Saba’s own. Earthquakes are also linked to other erupting volcanoes. Just because there’s an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Caribbean, does not mean Saba will blow. You can be concerned if the epicenter is located under Saba, or very near.
    So, I do agree with you about needing an evacuation plan, but I’m saying that we cannot jump to conclusions and throw things out of proportion.

    By the way, what does $$$ have to do with this discussion? Nothing I have said is motivated by money.

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