28/03/2014 by Laura Audenino – Italian Red Cross

Run, run for life!

A great eighth Richter scale degree earthquake, with the Portugal as epicenter, generate a tsunami that is expected to strikes on Caribbean and Grenada between eight hours, crossing the Atlantic ocean with the destructive power of his 100 feet and more high waves.

Is the beautiful spice island doomed?

With this scenario, that it seems taken from a movie screenplay, our third day on the island begins and fortunately all of this is just a fake. “Caribe wave 2014″ is a major international exercise, to which we will attend as observers.

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Everyone is feeling high, and we are all excited to start this new experience on the field.
A van will take us to our next stop, the airport. Here there is the MET office,  where the alert messages will be transmitted. There are two scenarios: Evacuation of a school building, populated by about 400 childrens Evacuation of a rum distillery (this sounds good!)

Clock ticks and the way to run is long, so after a kindly explaination by the MET office’s Chief we depart from the airport, heading to the other side of the island, crossing the mountains and the forest in the interior, “First paved rollercoaster I have ever seen” says Markus after a lot of curves, making all of us laugh loud.

Arriving next to the school, where a police office directs the traffic, we spread out into two groups so I and some of us can go ahead towards the rum distillery, my final target.

Here we are!

Sugar cane smell is in the air, everywhere there are lots of stuff, a man fuels with firewood the fiery furnace, who is connected to some boilers. It looks like a jump back in time, but the tsunami is coming
up! A worker sounds the alarm hitting hard a metallic bucket with a rod: it’s time to run!

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Meanwhile in the warehouse, an oldest woman is walking toward the exit, other people are running to the hill, but there is no confusion as expected. The woman has pain to her knees and can’t walk anymore,
so her exercise ends here.

Younger people are the first to reach muster point on the hill’s top, but in a short time everyone gets there. That’s all, and at the “ALL CLEAR”, the workers get back at the meeting point next the factory.

An exercise like this is very important to be prepared for a real emergency. During the debriefing everyone is focused at suggestions and annotations picked up by us and by NADMA’s people.
Be repared is essential: time is few and a life could depend on it. A lesson learnt well today, for the rum distillery workers: run, run for life!