26th May 2020

Berlin offers to build tsunami warning system for Asia

Following the tsunami disaster in south east Asia, Germany has offered to play a leading role in improving international early warning systems.

An institute in Potsdam which specialises in earthquake and tsunami research could undertake the work, the German government said over the weekend.

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"With our concept we are able to build an efficient early warning system within one to three years", research minister Edelgard Bulmahn told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

"The Greek and Turkish coasts are also high-risk earthquake areas", the minister added.

The system would focus on the Indian Ocean but could later be widened to cover the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. It would cost some 40 million euro and would warn data centres immediately via Internet, e-mail and sms.

The tsunami has killed around 150,000 people mainly in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Maldives and India.

According to AP, 433 foreigners were killed by the tsunami disaster in south east Asia and 3,889 foreigners are still missing.

Sixty Germans have been confirmed as dead with 720 still missing.

Sweden, which for its size has been hit relatively hard, has 52 dead and 637 still missing. The UK has 50 dead and 391 missing.

US to present system

Germany is, however, not the only country in the world bidding to lead improvements of international tsunami warning systems following the Asian catastrophe.

The US State Department’s Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) is set to present a design for future protection of coastal areas to the United Nations-sponsored World Conference on Disaster Reduction this month in Kobe, Japan.

The idea is to build a system of up to 50 buoy-based sensors throughout the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans and the Caribbean Sea.

The buoys are needed to determine whether an earthquake has generated a tsunami.

Sensors on the ocean floor would transmit tsunami data to buoys on the surface where it would then be relayed by satellite to scientists

Only one such system now exists at the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

India says it is also searching for the best technology on the market to set up an early warning system to prevent disasters like the recent Asian tsunamis.

According to media reports, Indian political leaders decided at a meeting on Sunday (9 January) to set up a management authority that would be responsible for finding the best technology available.


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