Tsunami warning systems to be tested in September


(Posted 19th August 2014)

A major Indian Ocean wide tsunami alert and disaster preparedness exercise will take place next month, once again testing systems, communications, command and control structure and how effective alerts are to arrange for a timely evacuation of people from the shorelines to higher ground.

Details obtained from IOC explain the exercise as follows:

IOWave14 will simulate Indian Ocean countries being put in a Tsunami Warning situation and require the National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) and (optionally) the Disaster Management Organisation (DMO) in each Member State to implement their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The exercise will comprise two scenarios on successive days, one in the eastern Indian Ocean and the other in the north-western Indian Ocean.

The first scenario simulates a magnitude 9.1 earthquake south of Java, Indonesia and the second scenario simulates a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in the Makran Trench south of Iran and Pakistan. Both scenarios will generate simulated tsunami waves travelling across the whole Indian Ocean basin. The South of Java scenario will commence at 0000 hours UTC on 9 September and the Makran Trench scenario will commence at 0600 hours UTC on 10 September.

Scenario 1 starting at 0000 UTC on Tuesday 9 September 2014: Magnitude 9.1 earthquake South of Java, Indonesia. The simulated tsunami will take approximately 10 hours to travel from its source to the coasts of Iran and Pakistan, and 12 hours to travel to the southern coast of South Africa.

A workshop for some 11 Indian Ocean rim countries took place in June this year in Hyderabad / India and participating countries were, among others, the island states of Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Comoros while from the African mainland it was, among others, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique which participated and will be part of the September trial runs. National bodies charged with disaster preparedness and emergency operations are now in the final stages to get their response teams ready in time for the two day exercise.

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