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Tsunami Exercise in Indian Ocean

M H Rajesh writes: With modern technology like satellites, there is adequate warning time available for affected peoples and governments to prepare and evacuate saving lives in most calamities.

Tsunami is a giant killer; huge unexpected waves from the sea as a result of an earthquake in far-flung spot in ocean can swallow the shores at another distant corner of that ocean. The Indian Ocean Region faced its last major tsunami in 2004 when a quake in its South Eastern corner near Sumatra, killed as many as 220000 people in its littorals.

Indian Ocean is home to billions belonging to 37 littoral states. Just as any other corner of the globe, the density of population is higher in the coastal areas. This coastal belt is used to its share of cyclones and other seasonal weather phenomenon. With modern technology like satellites, there is adequate warning time available for affected peoples and governments to prepare and evacuate saving lives in most calamities. However a Tsunami is different from a cyclone or a flood. It occurs suddenly, yet forewarning is indeed possible.  If sufficient sensors pick up a tsunami, the affected littorals can be warned for preparation and evacuation. The Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre and the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System do just that. This aims at replicating Pacific Tsunami Warning Systems, which operates in the Pacific Ocean. It is a multinational organisation which will conduct its exercise this year on 07/08 September where the systems will be put to test and thousands will be evacuated in mock drills.

This report indicates that the exercise ‘’IOWave16′ is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO, which coordinated the setting up of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 tsunami.’’

The exercise will simulate tsunami genic earth quake in Makaran Trench as well as the Off Sumatra to exercise Western and Eastern portions of Indian Ocean. The primary aim of this exercise is preparation against tsunami. An equally significant by product is that navies and nations that wouldn’t otherwise cooperate, will act in concert in this exercise, which helps them build networks of cooperation which is a desirable peace dividend.

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