Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System
The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System is a tsunami warning system set up to provide warning to inhabitants of nations bordering the Indian Ocean of approaching tsunamis. It was agreed to in a United Nations conference held in January 2005 in Kobe, Japan as an initial step towards an International Early Warning Programme. Nanometrics (Ottawa, Canada) and RESULTS Marine Private Limited, India, delivered and successfully installed 17 Seismic VSAT stations with 2 Central Recording Station to provide the seismic event alert to the scientists through SMS and E-mail automatically within 2 min. In the 2012 Banda Aceh earthquake of 8.4 magnitude, it alerted the Indian islands on Andaman and Nicobar within 8 minutes.
The system became active in late June 2006 following the leadership of UNESCO. It consists of 25 seismographic stations relaying information to 26 national tsunami information centers, as well as 6 Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) buoys. However, UNESCO warned that further coordination between governments and methods of relaying information from the centers to the civilians at risk are required to make the system effective.
Its creation was prompted by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami, which left some 230,000 people dead or missing. Many analysts claimed that the disaster would have been mitigated if there had been an effective warning system in place, citing the well-established Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which operates in the Pacific Ocean.
People in some areas would have had more than adequate time to seek safety if they were aware of the impending catastrophe. The only way to effectively mitigate the impact of a tsunami is through an early warning system.Other methods such as sea walls only work for a percentage of waves, but a warning system is effective for all waves originating outside a minimum distance from the coastline.
In the immediate aftermath of the July 2006 Java earthquake, the Indonesian government received tsunami warnings from the Hawaii center and the Japan Meteorological Agency but failed to relay the alert to its citizens. At least 23,000 people did evacuate the coast after the quake, either fearing a tsunami or because their homes had been destroyed...
Notes and references
- Suk, Sarah, Did disaster forum achieve anything?, crisscross.com, 23 January 2005
- Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System up and running, UNESCOPRESS, 28 June 2006
- Asia tsunami warning system ready, BBC News, 28 June 2006
- UN plans interim tsunami warning system that could be running almost at once, UN News, 13 January 2005
Mobile SMS based warning systems
- Integrated Tsunami Watcher Service a 24x7 free sms based warning system run by volunteer for not-profit and securing all lives.