With the potential of increased sea levels and potential for a tsunami based on the following excerpt from UN office for Disaster Reduction, small island states could face a double whammy of increasing risks – an earthquake and tsunami being very small probability events in the first place and sea level rise being on a longer term timelines – however with high potential damage and impacts.
“The magnitude 4.0 earthquake recorded off the coast of Antigua on 11 May is “a warning that the Caribbean should prepare for a much more severe earthquake to come,” says a leading expert.
Seismologist Joan Latchman of the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad and Tobago said: “Caribbean islands lie in an area of relatively high earthquake activity and an earthquake of 8.0 can hit any day based on patterns previously recorded.”
Last month, the Caribbean was encouraged to prepare for a devastating tsunami by the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Wendy Watson-Wright, Assistant Director-General at IOC-UNESCO has also urged the Caribbean’s 40 million people and its 22 million annual tourists to take the threat of a tsunami seriously as it is a case of “when and not if” the region will be struck by the giant waves triggered by earthquakes and volcanic activity.