Once a week, on Sundays I publish the most relevant and interesting happenings on the island in my weekly Aruba news updates.
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Weekly Aruba News Updates
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Caribbean Wave Tsunami Training
Aruba’s local department of crisis management and disaster relief participated in a tsunami test drill on March 15, 2018 as part of a Tsunami Warning Program by CaribeWave.
The tsunami alert wasn’t only simulated in Aruba, but in the entire Caribbean area.
The main purpose of the training is to identify and mitigate the danger of a tsunami in Aruba. And also to improve the effectiveness of the Tsunami warning training system along the Aruban coast.
This provides an opportunity for families, organization, hotels, and schools to test their lines of communications and review their emergency response procedures.
A total of three different scenarios were simulated in the Caribbean region. Each country had to choose the one that fits their objectives the best.
The first scenario was a magnitude 8.6 earthquake in Barbados. The second scenario an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Colombia. And the third scenario was a magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Puerto Rico.
Aruba exercised a fictitious 8.6 earthquake on the Richter scale on the coast of Barbados, which caused a fictional tsunami east of Barbados that will reach all the Caribbean islands and the coast of South America.
A total of 34 organizations agreed to participate in the test drill. They had to time how long it took them to evacuate the entire building and move as quick as possible to an agreed upon meeting point.
The simulation started on 10:00 AM.
Everyone received a sms on their phone saying “ TEST ALERT / DRILL SIMULACION: Alert for Aruba – Go to higher grounds / Alerta pa calamidad Aruba – Busca un tereno mas eleva of halto”
Aruba doesn’t have a central alarming system, so the department of crisis management and disaster relief used social media, TV, radio, and sms to warn the community.
Radio hosts informed drivers to flash their lights and honk their horns in order to warn people in traffic about the “tsunami”.
The department of crisis management and disaster relief will evaluate the preparedness response to a tsunami for all the companies who participated in the test drill and the rest of the community.
History of Tsunami in Aruba
Aruba never received an official tsunami warning. However, the island does get warnings for tsunamis in the Caribbean region, but the island was never affected by them.
According to the director of the department of crisis management and disaster relief, Aruba is geographically located outside of where tsunamis usually happen. But in the worse case scenario that Aruba gets affected by a tsunami in the Caribbean region, waves will be about 3 to 9 meters high, according to simulations by the local meteorology department.
In this scenario, the department of crisis management and disaster relief advises to go 2 kilometers or more away from the beach coasts and you should be in a safe zone.
They recommends locals and visitors to download the ALERT FM app.
It’s an app used to send out emergency alerts in Aruba.
You can download the app on your phone, after installing the app enter code 99888 to receive alerts for Aruba.
National Flag & Anthem Day
The entire island celebrates national flag & anthem day on March 18, 2018.
Gilberto Croes, better known as “Betico Croes” was a political activist that obtained status aparte for Aruba as of January 1, 1986.
The Aruban flag and national anthem (named Aruba dushi Tera) was inaugurated on March 18, 1976.
Aruba Dushi Tera means “sweet island of Aruba” in English.
The Aruban Flag
The Aruban flag has 4 colors: yellow, blue, white and red.
Here a picture of the Aruban flag…
The colors and symbols have a special meaning…
Blue represents the beautiful ocean that surrounds the island.
The four-pointed star represents a compass, and shows the 4 coasts which forms a natural barrier from the ocean.
The white border on the star symbolizes the white beach sand found in Aruba.
Red is the love that locals have on the island and also represents the Indians who lived on the island and lost their lives trying to protect it from intruders back then.
The yellow stripes represents the status aparte of Aruba.
Two stripes are separated representing the islands independence in the Dutch Kingdom.
Yellow also represents the islands gold industry back then, flora and fauna like the native aloe plant, kibrahacha tree and wanglo.
Events Around the Island A strong sense of pride is displayed each year as locals wear there Aruba designed t-shirts to celebrate flag and anthem day around the island.
There’s different events you can join, from cultural demonstrations at Plaza Betico Croes, featuring beautiful cultural shows by local groups that dance to traditional music such as waltz, tumba, mazurka, danza and folklore.
Then there’s different cultural events with local cuisines, snacks, and beverage. And numerous other activities throughout the island like sporting events and games, face painting, dino jump and garage sales.
Of course restaurants will have many special dishes and prices during this day.
Celebrate national flag and anthem day just like an Aruban if you’re on the island by visiting any of these events.
12 Hours in Aruba
Preparations are taking place for the mountain bike event called “12 Hours in Aruba”.
The event challenges riders to complete as many 4 kilometer laps as possible in a period of 12 hours.
This is the 4th edition of mountain bike event. It will take place on April 14, 2018 from 6:00 PM and will end on April 15, 2018 at 6:00 AM.
In 2015 a total of 100 mountain bikers participated in the event. This increased the following year to a total of 134 participants. In 2017 a total of 140 mountain bikers joined the event.
This year’s event is going to be big. There’s going to be lots of adventures and challenges for mountain bikers and a great ambience for supporters.
There’s going to be live performances, radio, activities and lots of fun.
Local riders as well as international mountain bikers from
Curaçao, Venezuela, Colombia, Netherlands and USA will also participate in the event.
Do you want to join “12 hours in Aruba?
Register at FX Sport in Aruba for only $35.00 – price includes: sleeping accommodation when you’re tired, massage when you need it, food, drinks, coffee, fruit and one raffle ticket for a chance to win a brand new Cannondale bicycle.
Visit their facebook page for more information and prices.
They also offer rental mountain bikes.
Registration at FX sport started on March 1, 2018 until April 27, 2018.
What’s The Hold Up, CITGO
The rehabilitation of the refinery is still on hold, since the US government imposed sanctions on Maduro and Venezuela.
Representatives of CITGO (Venezuela) already discussed the current situation with the Aruban government. However a meeting with the vice president of the company is still necessary to confirm the holdup or find a way to continue the rehabilitation of the refinery.
Ss long as the US sanctions are still current, CITGO can’t supply any money for the rehabilitation of the refinery.
If they don’t complete the rehabilitation of the refinery as stated in the contract, the contract will go into default. And they would have to dismantle the refinery on own costs, which reportably can cost up to $35.000.000.
More info on the rehabilitation of the refinery will be released at a later date.
New Gasoline Price
Based on the “Platts US Marketscan”(Gulf Coast) the gas prices changed on the island again.
Gasoline costs 193.2 cent per liter (1,1 cent cheaper) and diesel now costs 165.0 cent per liter (3,3 cents cheaper).
All prices include taxes.
Are you renting a car in Aruba?
Note these prices for gasoline when budgeting for gas.
Don’t have a rental car yet?
Updates About Isla Oro & Bushiri
An over water bungalow style resort was scheduled to open in 2018, however the project is currently on hold.
Different aspects like NGO’s and permits caused the project to stagnate for over a year.
The minister of tourism recently gave an update about the project.
According to the minister, the project is on hold due to a current space development plan by the government that prohibits construction where the resort wants to be located.
The intention is to construct over 50 over water bungalows on a site located along Aruba’s southwestern coast that includes an expansive mangrove forest and a large crystalline lagoon protected from the sea by a small barrier island and reef.
Unless the minister of infrastructure adapts the spatial development plan, which is easier said than done, the project cannot move forward.
Despite assurance by the owner that the environment will remain untouched by the contractors during construction, many NGOs and local groups are against the project.
The old bushiri hotel finally got dismantled.
Years ago the resort was the first hotel school on the island, however, it was closed and left to deteriorate.
Here’s how the bushiri area looks now…
During a poll, people were asked what they would like to see happen with the new area.
Most people voted this area to remain like it is, and be further developed into a public beach, including facilities such as bathrooms for the public.
The necessity for a new hotel is not there, according to the community.
It’s not sure that the boutique hotel will be constructed where the bushiri used to be, however it seems that the boutique hotel is a integral part of the harbor area.
Soul Beach Music Festival 2018
This year is the 18th edition of Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba (May 23 – 29, 2018)
SBMF is one of the islands biggest festivals and is held on consecutive days, featuring beach and pool parties in the morning, music performances or comedy at night. And of course after parties follow after midnight.
Artist that performed during previous SBMF are Miguel, Jazmine Sullivan, Lauryn Hill, Common, R.Kelly, Toni Braxton and so many other superstars.
The promoters of SBMF announced a selection of the lineup for this year (Alicia Keys, Maxwell and Comedian Marlon Wayans). Other performing artist will be released at a later date.
Visit the facebook page of SBMF for more information, tickets and travel packages.
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