Malaysia and 19 other nations to join Tsunami alert test

Published: Friday October 7, 2011 MYT 9:24:00 AM

LONDON: Almost seven years after the devastating tsunami of 2004, over 20 nations including Malaysia will participate in a full-scale exercise to test the operational capacity of the Indian Ocean tsunami alert system on October 12, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

The Exercise ‘IOWAVE 11’ will re-enact the seismic events of December 26, 2004, simulating a 9.2-magnitude quake that occurs northwest coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, sending waves across the Indian Ocean that strike the coast of South Africa 12 hours later.

The test will also include the evacuation of coastal communities in several countries, notably India and Malaysia.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will mark the transition of responsibility for the tsunami warning system with a video address to the authorities of the three countries on the same date.

The exercise aims to evaluate the system’s operational capacity, the efficiency of communications among the different actors, and the state of preparation of national emergency services.

The re-enactment of the seismic events will test the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS), Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as saying in a press release.

Bulletins will be issued by the new Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSPs) in Australia, India and Indonesia, it said.

This exercise, organised under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, will also see responsibility for the issue of advisories handed over to the countries of the region through a new regional tsunami advisory service.

The Indian Ocean nations decided to establish an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in the wake of the 2004 catastrophe.

They requested that UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission establish an Intergovernmental Coordination Group to provide a governance mechanism for the new system, which became partially operational in 2005, the UNESCO said.

Since then, the Japan Meteorological Agency and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre have issued bulletins to 28 Indian Ocean nations.

They will continue to provide this service until the end of 2012, at which time an evaluation of the new regional advisory service will be carried out.

So far, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France (La Reunion), India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Yemen have signed up for the October 12 test, the UNESCO said.

The 9.2-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killed over 230,000 people in 14 countries.

It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest hit, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Bernama


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