The world is not ending, says expert
“If you want to go swimming off Brandon’s [beach] tomorrow, there is no reason you can’t,” says leading emergency management consultant Roy Ward.
However, speaking to Barbados TODAY from his south-west Florida home, amid stepped up alert for the undersea volcano Kick ‘em Jenny, he cautioned that “if you want to take a boat, a yacht and sail to the northern end of Grenada where Kick ‘em Jenny is, that is not advisable”.
While making it clear that the current “Orange” alert level was a “mariner’s alert” and not “a shoreline alert”, he stressed that there was currently no need to evacuate the coastline of Barbados, which he estimated would affect about 40, 000 people.
Ward, who previously served as an emergency management consultant to the Ministry of Home Affairs, further explained that the current activity surrounding Kick ‘em Jenny did not mean “you are going to get 50 and 60 foot waves coming up on the shoreline.
“It means that the water, the surface of the ocean above the crater is so active that it is difficult to navigate as a mariner, a fishing boat, a cruise ship, a coast guard vessel, any marine vessel that is working in that area is in danger . . . but it doesn’t mean that the sea is so violent that it will flood the shortline,” he said.
He further emphasized that while the current activity around the crater “makes life very difficult for persons who are sailing a boat, or marine vessel of any type in that area, it is not something that is going to blow tomorrow morning and you are going to find the entire coast of Sandy Lane gone.
“That is not going to happen,” Ward stressed, assuring that there was no immediate threat of any cataclysmic eruption or major tsunami event.
“. . . The eruption would have to be very, very severe. We are talking the same kind of eruption of the surface of a Philipines-type of volcano, of an Icelandic-type of volcano or Mount Soufriere in Montserrat . . . but that is not what is going on at the moment,” he told Barbados TODAY.
While calling on Barbadians to “calm down”, he further assured: “The world is not coming to an end.”
He also took issue with a comparison made by the acting director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit Dr Lorna Inniss between the current Kick ‘em Jenny activity and the Soufriere Hills volcano in Monserrat, pointing out that” the 1995 eruption of Soufriere was a very violent eruption.
“It killed people and it made two thirds of Montserrat uninhabitable for a long time. That kind of eruption occurring under water would be extremely severe . . . [but] if what they [seismologists monitoring Kick ‘em Jenny] are actually observing is activity of a crater that is constantly alive and it is not a dormant event then no, the analogy will not work.
“You would have to have scientific data to support that the crater is going to erupt at such a stage that it is going to be similar to a land based volcanic eruption.
“If the data supports it yes, if the data does not support it, you cannot say that,” he cautioned. (KJ)