Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre (CTIC)

The Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre (CTIC) is a partnership initiative between the Government of Barbados (GoB) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO/IOC).  CTIC was formally established on September 02, 2013 and initially hosted by the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Barbados.  It is now hosted by the Coastal Zone Management Unit under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Barbados.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Barbados and the OECS also provides administrative oversight and human resource management support to the CTIC through the UN Agency to UN Agency agreement framework.   CTIC is an organ of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS).

The GoB-UNESCO/IOC partnership was initiated with the hosting of the Interim CTIC at the CZMU from 2007 – 2013 and culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Barbados and UNESCO/IOC on March 01, 2013 and the ensuing Implementing Partners Agreements (IPAs).   The CTIC is permanently staffed by an Interim Director, with administrative, logistical and technical support for the execution of activities provided by the GoB as detailed within the MOU and IPAs.

UNDP, as with other international and regional agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (SRC), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Centro de Coordinación de la Prevención de Desastres Naturales en América Central (CEPREDENAC), is an Observer Organisation to the ICG/CARIBE EWS. In partnership, these agencies support and sustain the coordination and operation of the regional tsunami warning and mitigation system.

The goal of the CTIC is to improve all aspects of tsunami warning and mitigation; including hazard assessment, warnings, preparedness and research.  In so doing, the activities of the CTIC support all four (4) elements of the tsunami early warning system i.e.:

1.    Monitoring and Detection – data (sea-level and seismic) collection, assessment and identification of tsunami propagation
2.    Hazard Assessment – analysis of tsunami risks including modelling and mapping
3.    Warning Communication and Information Dissemination – development of protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), issuance of coordinated and timely warnings from international to community levels through traditional and non-traditional redundant communication tools
4.    Preparedness, Readiness and Resilience - continuous and targeted awareness and education activities to instill a culture of self-evacuation, particularly in the event of local tsunamis where there may be little time for officials to issue a tsunami warning

The CTIC is engaged in and coordinates a number of national, regional and international activities including meetings and workshops as well as public awareness and education campaigns which require a high level of expediency, flexibility and dedication to ensure their success. The CTIC provides technical support to these activities as well as logistical and administrative support.

The ultimate result of the efforts of the CTIC in collaboration with its Member States, partners and the donor community, will be the safeguard of lives and property of our people within the region. The CTIC is a crucial pillar towards the development of a coordinated, comprehensive, regional end-to-end tsunami and other coastal hazards warning system for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE EWS).  

The project will realise the strengthening of institutional capacities, and enhancing public awareness and education programmes for tsunamis and other coastal hazards through support to the CTIC. The project will also contribute to the overall goal of the CTIC to mitigate the effect of tsunamis throughout the region. The UNDP-implemented Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean (ERC) project provided the initial support for the establishment of the CTIC between 2009 and 2013.

Accomplishments to Date:
•    Capacity assessment of national EWS capacity undertaken
•    Capacity building in Tsunami Protocol and SOP development across the region
•    Multi-lingual public awareness and education materials developed and disseminated
•    Capacity building in the installation and maintenance of emergency communications equipment
•    Development and testing of a community-based tsunami recognition programme