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MEDIA RELEASE #6 - NEOC PROVIDES UPDATE ON KEY SECTORS SUBSEQUENT TO SEISMIC ACTIVITY

MEDIA RELEASE #6

Thursday 23rd August, 2018                                                             5:20 p.m.

NEOC PROVIDES UPDATE ON KEY SECTORS SUBSEQUENT TO SEISMIC ACTIVITY

On behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is currently coordinating assessments of all critical infrastructure, government buildings, and roadways, subsequent to seismic activity.

This follows the 6.9 magnitude earthquake felt across Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday 21st August, 2018 at 5:31 p.m., the 6.0 magnitude aftershock on Wednesday 22nd August, 2018 at 9:28 a.m. and the 4.0 magnitude aftershock felt today (Thursday 23rd August, 2018) at 6:44 a.m.

UWI Seismic Research Centre has confirmed that further to the earthquake event there were thirty-seven (37) aftershocks.  Aftershocks will continue and some may be at a magnitude large enough to be felt. Citizens are reminded to STAY CALM.

At this time, there are no reports of serious injury, loss of life or significant damage to critical infrastructure.

The NEOC continues to warn against the creation and circulation of fake content (i.e. news, photographs, memes etc.) which can cause unnecessary panic or concern to citizens and visitors. As citizens, we must continue to display patriotism by looking out for one another.

Priority has been given to the completion of the Initial Damage Assessments (IDAs) and Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANAs) across all sectors, with the focus being directed to governmental/ government-used critical facilities, and other building stock.

The Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT) has actively initiated inspection of critical facilities. Additionally, the MOWT is coordinating and implementing a national response team consisting of qualified and experienced personnel in building infrastructure. This team was dispatched across all municipalities on a priority basis to determine the structural safety of government buildings for occupancy. 

Following inspections by the MOWT the following buildings were found suitable for occupation: Immigration Building Fredrick Street, Port of Spain and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs Headquarters, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain. The inspection of the Jean Pierre Complex and Hasely Crawford Stadium will be inspected tomorrow and remains closed to the public.

The MOWT will continue assessments.

The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government (MRDLG) has confirmed that Initial Damage Assessments (IDAs) were conducted by personnel from the fourteen (14) Municipal Corporations.  Damage Assessments and Needs Analysis (DANAs) will continue in municipalities. One hundred and ninety-three (193) reports were received, and of these reports, one hundred and sixteen (116) were completed.

The Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago (GSTT) has confirmed activity at the Devil’s Woodyard Mud Volcano in New Grant, Princes Town. To maintain public safety and security, the Hindustan Road in New Grant remains closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic except to persons who reside in the area. Citizens and visitors are advised to avoid visiting the area at this time.

Activity has also been reported at the Piparo Mud Volcano. There are no road closures at this time.

The Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has confirmed that damage assessments in Tobago are now eighty percent (80%) completed.  There were fourteen (14) reports of structural damage, the facilities of concern (High Risk) are CERT Facility Moriah, Scarborough Police Station and the Victor E Bruce building in Scarborough.

Representatives from various State Agencies continue to be stationed at the National Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate and verify information for public updates.

There were reports of minor structural damage to Police Stations. In all instances, the Police Stations remain fully operational at this time. The Caroni Police Station has suffered minor damage in the form of broken light fixtures and ceilings. The Toco Police Station has suffered structural damage with a compromised beam in the building. The Sangre Grande Police Station has several cracks in the walls and floor.

The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service (TTPrS) has reported no major structural damage to facilities.

The Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service (TTFS) will continue the inspection of government/government-used facilities, inclusive of schools. 

The TTFS has reported the following findings:

The National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) Office, Duke Street Port of Spain, no major structural damage, only ceiling and lighting fixtures were disturbed.

The MNS Temple Court 1 – Cracks visible on front staircase.

The MNS Temple Court 2 – No structural damage only ceiling tiles were disrupted.

The Industrial Court Port of Spain – Minor cracks were identified on walls, ceiling tiles on areas of the third floor were disrupted causing doors to jam.

The Election and Boundaries Commission building – no significant impact identified

The Mayaro Fire Station was reported to be affected by the earthquake. The MOWT has inspected the facility and the building was found to be safe.

The Traffic Management Branch of the Ministry of Works and Transport has reopened the roadway on Independence Square (North) between George Street Extension and Nelson Street, Port of Spain, (outside Catholic Cathedral).

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) dispatched a cross-functional team to conduct structural damage assessments at all HDC communities. The inspection of HDC buildings revealed no major damage except to isolated instances of hairline cracks and damaged staircases at Mora Heights, Rio Claro. The HDC has mobilised contractors, who with the assistance of HDC staff, have begun work at Mora Heights, Rio Claro where some staircases were damaged.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) has reported a major landslide on Royal Engineer Road (Beach Road), Los Iros Erin. A team from UWI Seismic Research Centre was dispatched to conduct assessments. Approximately sixty (60) acres of land affected from the movement resulting in depressions of ten (10) to fifty (50) feet below original level. The MRDLG and the Ministry of Agriculture are currently working to address the situation.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that all health facilities across Trinidad and Tobago are operational. Elective surgeries have been suspended at all hospitals, only emergency cases will be performed. The Carenage Health Facility has been inspected and was deemed safe.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) has reported that there are no structural damages to the energy sector facilities.

The Ministry of Education has confirmed that inspections are being conducted by the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service (TTFS) of the nation’s school and school laboratories.

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) conducted water quality testing on all major water treatment plants. Results revealed that water quality was standard. There has been no compromise to water quality. WASA will continue to conduct inspections of all their facilities.

The Matura, Caura and Aripo Water Treatment Plants are out of service (not as a result of earthquake or aftershocks). It will be at least 24 hours before plants can be operational.  Areas affected are: Sangre Grande; Manzanilla; Malabar; La Horquetta; Omeara; Carapo; Tumpuna; Brazil; Malony; Oropune; Mausica; Five Rivers; Valencia and some parts of Arima.

The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) has confirmed that the following areas are still experiencing power (electrical) outages: Mt Catharine, Port of Spain; Erthig Road, Belmont; Pashley Street, Laventille. T&TEC is working diligently on restoring services in affected areas. These outages are not as a result of the earthquake or aftershocks.

The Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) has confirmed no service impact has been reported. TSTT has confirmed that Diego Martin Industrial Estate was restored. The service at Toco Main Road Rampanalgas site was addressed.

Damage Assessments and Needs Analysis (DANAs) and subsequent conduct of Damage and Loss Assessments (DALAs) will continue across Trinidad and Tobago.

Citizens impacted that require assistance with conducting inspections, following the development of cracks or signs of damage have been advised to contact their respective Municipal Corporation or TEMA through its toll-free hotline number (please see the attached contact listing).

All first responder agencies are on alert to provide assistance in the event of aftershocks.

The ODPM continues to remind citizens of the following in the event of aftershocks:

  • STAY CALM. DO NOT PANIC. BE ALERT.
  • If inside stay inside, do not run out of the building as you may be injured by falling debris.
  • If inside, DROP, COVER and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. 
  • Get under a sturdy desk, table or bed and hold on or stand in a strong doorway.
  • DO NOT USE ELEVATORS OR STAIRS.
  • Move away from windows, mirrors, glass doors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects.
  • If outside and there are no obvious signs of danger nearby, stay there.
  • If outside, stay away from glass buildings, electricity poles and bridges.
  • If in a vehicle, do not stop on or under a bridge.
  • Always look out for falling plaster, bricks, lighting fixtures and other objects.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), first responders and other support agencies remain committed to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and continue to support the coordination of various stakeholders to ensure assistance can be provided to affected persons in a timely manner.

WE WISH TO UNDERSCORE THAT TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO IS NOT CURRENTLY UNDER ANY TSUNAMI WATCH OR WARNING. 

 

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