News day / And while we may not be able to tell exactly when a large earthquake may occur, it was in our best interest to put measures in place to deal with the event.
This according to director Seismic Research Centre at University of the West Indies, Dr Joan Latchman, " We have been saying for the longest while that our region, the Caribbean as a whole, but the eastern Caribbean in particular is situated on an earthquake belt.
The variables of seismic activity that we see are smaller and more regularly on a daily basis, and the larger magnitude earthquakes occur more infrequently.
" The statistics suggest that the very large earthquakes occur on average about every 100 years and therefore because of that, we need to be prepared. We can't say when that earthquake will occur. It could occur today, tomorrow, next week, next five years…the fact is because the nature of earthquakes is not something you can prepare for, when you think it is at the door you have to prepare for it well in advance, so we need to be putting measures in place now," latchman advised during an interview, yesterday.
Between 1825 and 2006 there have been what has been labelled seven "significant earthquakes" in TT.
She said there were measures that could be put in place, including getting our building code legislated and enforced, and ensuring the public was made aware of the measures they needed to take with their homes, schools and other structures.
"In our region we know that hurricanes occur every year and to a certain degree we are prepared for those. The fact is that large magnitude earthquakes do not occur that regularly, but given the length of time we have not seen our largest magnitude earthquake, there is a very good chance that it is going to happen in our lifetime. Ours is the generation that is going to be called upon to deal with it and therefore we need to be dealing with it from now," Latchman said.
Latchman said researchers throughout the world have been trying to look for patterns. She sai global patterns were indicative that the kinds of earthquakes that were seen in Sumatra in 2004 and Japan in 2011 suggested that most earthquakes would occur.
Head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), Dr Stephen Ramroop, said there is an existing approved National Response Framework (NRF) which was developed in 2010 with the help of the European Union and government.