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Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Up And Running

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Jun 28, 2006
A tsunami warning system for the entire Indian Ocean "is up and running as scheduled", the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which has been overseeing the scheme, announced on Wednesday.

A network of 26 national tsunami information centres have been set up in Indian Ocean countries, capable of receiving and distributing tsunami advisories around the clock, it said in a press release.

Twenty-five new seismographic stations have been created, providing data in real time to centres that analyse the location and depth of a quake and compute whether there is a risk of a tsunami.

The information is being supplemented by three deep-ocean sensors that detect and report tsunamis.

The system is being coordinated by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

UNESCO director general Koichiro Matsuura said countries could be "justly proud" of this achievement but stressed the need to beef up international coordination and for governments to work hard on grassroots preparedness.

"A timely, 100-percent accurate and precise warning will not provide any protecting if people do not know how to respond to the emergency," he said.

The warning system was set up after the December 26, 2004, tsunami, triggered by an earthquake just west of Indonesia. The wave killed some 220,000 people in a dozen countries.

A similar system has been in existence in the Pacific for more than four decades, and others are planned for the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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