SAN JUAN -- The
8th Annual Caribbean Conference
on Sustainable Tourism Development, which opened April 24 at the Condado Plaza Hotel &
Casino in San Juan for 170 delegates from throughout the Caribbean,
began with a special focus on disaster management and prevention.
Caribbean is highly vulnerable to tsunamis, the region has begun
working on a tsunami readiness plan, according to Christa von
Hillenbrandt-Andrade, director of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network
in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
She pointed out
that the word tsunami does create waves of panic within the tourism
industry, much more so since the tsunami in southeast Asia in
December 2004. We have been working for years toward the
development of a tsunami plan in the Caribbean. We can no longer
ignore this potential danger.
Plans are slowly
taking shape to set up centers on each island where tsunami
warnings could be issued to residents and visitors.
In Mayaguez, the
Caribbeans first Tsunami Warning System will go into effect next
month, thanks to a $100,000 funding commitment from the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. However, we estimate
that it will take $41 million to fund the Tsunami-Ready program for
the entire Caribbean region, Hillebrandt-Andrade said.
highlights included workshops on national approaches to risk
management, sustainable tourism policies and case studies on
recovery planning, as well as study tours to El Yunque Rainforest,
Old San Juan and the Humacao Nature Preserve.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].