Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez Programa de Alerta y Mitigación Contra Maremotos de Puerto Rico FEMA (Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias)

Puerto Rico Tsunami Technical Review Committee is Established

On April 1, 2004 the Puerto Rico Tsunami Technical Review Committee met for the first time at the headquarters of the Puerto Rico State Emergency Management Agency (PRSEMA).  Twenty five representatives from the state and federal agencies and the University of Puerto Rico attended the meeting.  The two invited speakers were Dr. Laura Kong, Director of the International Tsunami Information Center and Dr. Charles McCreery, Director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.  They gave an overview of tsunamis, the Pacific tsunami warning system and the role of the Hawaii Tsunami Technical Review Committee (HTTRC).

The establishment of this committee was one of the action items agreed upon at the Caribbean Tsunami Protocol Workshop which was held in Mayagüez, PR in January, 2003.  Similar to the HTTRC, the activities of the PRTTRC will be focused towards:

1. Identification of tsunami hazard and risk
2. Tsunami warning protocol
3. Emergency management and mitigation activities
4. Public awareness

Specific issues that were discussed included the feasibility of installing existing or new tide gauges in the PR and USVI, greater accessibility of the PR Tsunami Video (translation into English, close captioning, DVD, Sign Language), alarm systems, the existing protocol and the establishment of an email list server for the PRTTRC.  The next meeting will be held in September and efforts will be made for the participation of representatives from the Dept. of Education, Tourism, Ports and Highway Authorities, Police, Civil Air Patrol and the US Virgin Islands.  At present, the PRTTRC is coordinated by the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez as part of the Puerto Rico Tsunami Warning and Mitigation program.  This program was established in the year 2000 with funding from FEMA and as of 2004 is supported by the PRSEMA

Submitted by:  Christa G. von Hillebrandt-Andrade, Director and Assistant Researcher Puerto Rico Seismic Network, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, PI Puerto Rico Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Program.