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.
A meeting of the IOC UNESCO project on “Communicating the effects of the 1945 Makran tsunami to increase awareness and preparedness of tsunami hazards in the Makran region” was held in Muscat, Oman from 20-24 October 2013. The meeting reviewed the collection of eyewitness interviews and historical documents on the tsunami that have been obtained during missions to Oman, Pakistan, Iran and India, and formulated plans for further work. The highest priorities for the new activities are 1) interviews in the Indus Delta near Karachi in Pakistan where it appears the majority of fatalities took place and 2) follow-up interviews in Pasni, Pakistan to constrain the timing of the old port sliding into the sea and to explore whether this slide could account for the late, large “second” wave. The collection of eyewitness interviews and historical documents as well as summary material for coastal communities and policy makers will be made available on the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Center website (iotic.ioc-unesco.org) in 2014.
Funding for the project is provided by the ESCAP administered Trust Fund on Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian Countries. The Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation (DGMAN) hosted the meeting. Participants included seven tsunami researchers from the Makran countries, a researcher from the United States, six observers from the Oman Forecasting Centre at DGMAN and three representatives from the IOC UNESCO Secretariat.
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.