A regional training workshop on tsunami warning and emergency response Standard Operating Procedures for Northern and Western Indian Ocean countries was held in Hyderabad, India, 23-26 June 2014, hosted by the Government of India through the Indian Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). The workshop was attended by 30 participants from 11 countries, namely: Comoros, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and Yemen. The workshop was conducted by a team of 10 trainers from Australia, India, Indonesia, United States, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, UNESCO Disaster Risk Reduction and Tsunami Information Unit, Jakarta and IOC UNESCO.
The participants represented National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWCs), Disaster Management Organisations (DMOs) and national media organisations. The workshop programme included lecture sessions, breakout group work, and a site visit to the Indian National Tsunami Warning Centre and IOTWS Regional Tsunami Service Provider at INCOIS. The lectures and training material were based on manuals and templates developed by IOC UNESCO in collaboration with the NOAA International Tsunami Information Centre (ITIC) since 2008.
The primary objectives of the workshop were: to understand RTSP services and products; to understand the impact of the RTSP products on NTWC SOPs; to identify potential gaps and possible challenges for warning chain SOPs at the national level; to familiarise the electronic media with the RTSP service and develop/adapt SOPs for interfacing with the media; and to prepare for the IOWave14 Exercise, scheduled to take place on 9 and 10 September 2014.
The tabletop exercise on the last day of the workshop provided the participants with an opportunity to put into practice what they had learned. The exercise evaluation took the form of a simulated press conference, with NTWC and DMO representatives facing questions from the media and exercise observers.
The workshop was followed on 27th June by intersessional meetings of the IOTWS Working Group 2 on Tsunami Detection, Warning and Dissemination, Working Group 3 on Tsunami Awareness and Response and the Task Team for the IOWave14 Exercise.
Funding to support the participants' travel and subsistence was provided from IOC Special Account funds contributed by the Government of Australia, with funding for local hosting support provided by the Government of India.
The Indonesian coast, between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, after the earthquake and the tsunami of 26 December 2004. Photo by Evan Schneider © UN Photo
UNESCO supports Member States in improving capabilities for tsunami risk assessment, implementing early warning systems and enhancing preparedness of communities at risk. UNESCO works closely with national institutions and promotes inter-institutional and regional cooperation. Specialized regional centers provide tsunami information that, together with national analysis, is the basis of the warnings issued for the public. In addition, UNESCO promotes community-based approaches in the development of response plans and awareness campaigns which strongly involve education institutions and end-users.