The Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation / Public Authority for Civil Aviation of Oman (DGMAN/PACA) in collaboration with IOC UNESCO held the second Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Workshop for Tsunami Early Warning Systems in Muscat, Oman, June 8-9 2014. The workshop was attended by 43 participants from different responsible government stakeholders involved in the National Multi-Hazards Early Warning System (NMHEWS) that Oman is developing. The workshop was officially opened by Mr.Abdul Rahim al Harmi, the Chairman of National Steering Committee of NMHEWS and Tsunami National Contact for the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS) IOTWS for the Sultanate of Oman.
In his opening speech, Dr.Juma al Maskari, Assistant Director-General for Meteorology of PACA and the chairman of the Technical Committee of NMHEWS, summarised the results of the first SOP workshop held in October 2013. He informed that the phase 1 development of the NMHEWS was in its final stages and that the system is expected to be inaugurated in March 2015, followed by an international symposium on tsunami science and the 10th Session of the ICG/IOTWS. The representatives of DGMAN presented the progress of the development of the NMHEWS; the Action Plan; and the status of SOP development. The Head of ICG/IOTWS Secretariat, Mr Tony Elliott, provided an overview of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) and the Regional Tsunami Service Provider (RTSP) products and services. He also gave a presentation on SOPs for Tsunami Warning Centres. The Head of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC), Mr Ardito Kodijat, gave a presentation on the services provided by IOTIC. On the second day of the workshop, Aridito Kodijat gave a presentation on Community Preparedness focusing on Evacuation Planning. The Principles of end-to-end Tsunami Early Warning and Tsunami Warning Decision Support Tools were presented by the IOC UNESCO Coordinator for the NMHEWS project, Dr Fauzi.
For the second part of Day 2 the participants were divided into 7 groups to conduct an exercise on developing SOPs for tsunami emergency response using timeline template tools. Each of the groups then presented the SOPs they had developed to the other groups.
At the closing of the workshop, the participants agreed to continue to work on their SOPs and prepare for their integration into the national goal of reducing the risk of tsunami disaster, especially considering the schedule for completion of the NMHEWS by the end of March 2015.
The next tsunami exercise for the North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas will be held on 28-30 October 2014.
NEAMWave14 will involve the simulation of the assessment of a tsunami, based on an earthquake-driven scenario followed by alert message dissemination by CTWPs (Phase A) and continued with the simulation of the TWFP/NTWCs’ and CPAs’ actions (Phase B), as soon as the message produced in Phase A has been received. In addition as soon as the message produced in Phase A has been received by the European Commission Emergency Response and Coordination Centre (ERCC) the simulation continues at international level with the activation of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (Phase C) for international assistance.
In order to prepare for the exercise a worksho has been organized on 10 June 2014 in Brussels by the IOC with the European Commission Directorate General Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (EC DG ECHO). The workshop had the main objective to present NEAMWave14 objectives and procedures to the Civil Protection Authorities of the NEAM region. Moreover, it was the occasion for the DG ECHO to present the activities of the ERCC to the NEAM community. NEAMWave14 will also help to strengthen the collaboration between them and IOC on tsunami preparedness. Moreover information on the ERCC can be found on their website:
For more information on NEAMWave14:
The IOC UNESCO project on “Enhancing Tsunami Risk Assessment and Management, Strengthening Policy Support and Developing Guidelines for Tsunami Exercises in Indian Ocean Countries” is being jointly implemented by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS) and the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC). The project aims to support the development and strengthening of tsunami exercise policies in the three pilot countries of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Timor Leste. The project is supported through a grant from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness.
In each pilot country, a stock taking survey designed to assess disaster risk reduction policies relating to tsunami has been undertaken. The survey addresses tsunami risk, hazard, exercise activities and emergency response standard operating procedures via consultation with two main stakeholders in each country.
Training modules on Policy Support and Guidelines for Tsunami Exercises were developed by an expert team comprised of researchers, scientists, government representatives and Disaster Risk Reduction specialists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Based on IOC Manuals and Guides Series No. 52: “Tsunami Risk Assessment and Mitigation for the Indian Ocean”, and No. 58: “How to Plan, Conduct and Evaluate Tsunami Exercises”, two training modules were developed, which will be implemented in two separate workshops in three pilot countries. The first training module focuses on the development of national policies to support a sustainable tsunami exercise programme. The second module focuses on how to plan and implement tsunami exercises. The training workshops will assist the three target countries to prepare and actively participate in the upcoming Indian Ocean Wave Exercise scheduled to take place in September 2014. Workshops on the first training module have been undertaken in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2013 and in Dili, Timor Leste in February 2014.
In the past 500 years, more than 75 tsunamis have been documented in the Caribbean and adjacent regions. Since 1842, 3446 people are reported to have perished to these killer waves. The tsunami generated by the 2010 Haiti earthquake claimed several lives, but the most recent devastating events were the 1946 tsunamis of the Dominican Republic, with at least 1800 victims.
The most destructive known events have occurred in: 1692 in Port Royal, Jamaica; 1770 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; 1842 in Port-de-Paix and Cap Haitian; 1867 in Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands; 1882 in San Blas Islands, Panama; 1918 in US Puerto Rico and 1946 in Matanzas, Dominican Republic.
Since then, there has been an explosive increase in residents, visitors, infrastructure, and economic activity along Caribbean coastlines, increasing the potential for human and economic loss.
For tsunami-prone areas, UNESCO's tsunami coordination experience in the Pacific has shown that a proper network of sea level measurement stations do help to provide timely and accurate Early Warnings. With this in mind, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) commissioned six (6) brand new sea level stations, for Haiti (2), Cayman Islands, Guatemala,St Vincent & The Grenadines and St Kits & Nevis. The stations were installed with the support of Brazil, the European Union, Monaco and St Vincent & The Grenadines; they are now up and running and delivering data through the IOC Sea Level Monitoring Facility
IOC-UNESCO is committed to continue developing end-to-end coastal hazard early warning systems, to save lives and increase tsunami preparedness and readiness in the Caribbean.
The International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC), in collaboration with the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) and the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program (CTWP) of the United States, with the support of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office for Barbados and the OECS through the Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean (ERC) Project recently hosted a workshop on Strengthening Standard Operating Procedures for Tsunami Warning and Emergency Response, on 4 – 8 November 2013.
This training workshop is the first substantive activity after the recent establishment of the CTIC and targeted Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) and Tsunami Emergency Response (TER) organisations in ten (10) countries in the Caribbean and adjacent region. The 1-week training workshop covered essential topics involved in the end-to-end tsunami warning including event monitoring and detection, threat evaluation and warning, alert dissemination, emergency response, evacuation, and public action. Training also emphasizes the development of sound tsunami warning and emergency response standard operating procedures (SOPs) as a key requirement for a successful end-to-end tsunami warning.
Participants were reminded that an effective tsunami warning system is achieved when all people in vulnerable coastal communities are prepared to respond appropriately and in a timely manner upon recognizing that a potential destructive tsunami may be approaching. Meeting this challenge requires round the-clock monitoring with real-time data streams and rapid alerting, as well as prepared communities, a strong emergency management system, and close and effective cooperation between all stakeholders.
This training workshop will be replicated in Barbados during the week 18 – 22 November 2013 catering to the TWFP and TER in the southern Caribbean, for 10 more countries. All together these trainings will get trained around 100 Caribbean officers to prepare for and deal with tsunami emergencies.
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.