17 June 2008 - Page 1
Indonesia tsunami early warning system among topics discussed at National Development Workshop in Jakarta, 5-6 June 2008
UNESCO approves tsunami warning arrangement with Indonesia
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved a tsunami warning arrangement with Indonesia in early June, which is now subject to approval by the next session of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) on 23-27 June 2008. The arrangement is of great importance to the region, especially after the 2004 tsunami which was triggered by a 9.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, and killed over 240,000 people in the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean.
Indonesia’s tsunami registered by CTBT’s global monitoring system
The earthquake was registered within minutes at seismic and hydroacoustic monitoring stations of the CTBTO International Monitoring System (IMS) throughout the world. Data about the catastrophe were sent to States Signatories by the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna within two hours of the data being recorded. Although the networks of many institutions registered the earthquake, no adequate warning could be issued by the relevant authorities to the population at risk because of the lack of an integrated and coherent early warning system in the region. There is little doubt that thousands of lives could have been saved if an effective alert system had been in place.
CTBTO cooperates with UNESCO to assist tsunami warning centres
In March 2005, the CTBTO decided to explore options for releasing data from the IMS to tsunami warning centres. The goal of this exercise was to identify how the CTBTO might best contribute to a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean. Together with UNESCO, the CTBTO is now providing real-time and continuous data to five tsunami warning centres: the North-West Pacific Tsunami Information Centre in Japan, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC), and two in Malaysia – the Malaysian Meteorological Department and the Malaysian National Tsunami Early Warning System. These centres now receive data directly from 30 monitoring stations worldwide. As the provider of the fastest seismic and hydroacoustic data, this system enhances the ability of tsunami warning centres to issue timely and reliable tsunami alerts. A tsunami alert system for Indonesia will be inaugurated on 11 November 2008.