In commemoration of the World Tsunami Awareness Day (5 November 2019) the Government of Indonesia and the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission partnered to strengthen tsunami early warning and protect critical infrastructure.
Many infrastructures bordering the Indian Ocean do not have an assessment of tsunami hazard and risk to their facilities. Knowledge of official warning products and direct access to tsunami warning information from the National Tsunami Warning Centers (NTWCs) is limited. More guidance and capacity are needed to develop actionable warning products for key stakeholders, tsunami standard operating procedures, emergency response plans as well as preparedness and awareness initiatives.
A workshop co-organized by the government of Indonesia and UNESCO’s IOC sought to adress the urgent need for critical infrastructure facilities to work closely with relevant experts and national authorities to bridge these gaps.
An open discussion to identify Tsunami risks in the region
Expert presentations during the workshop facilitated sharing of lessons learnt from Japan and Indonesia on the impact of tsunamis on infrastructures, and best practices for enhancing tsunami preparedness within such critical facilities. These presentations were followed by moderated discussions to identify status, challenges and actions needed to enhance tsunami risk knowledge, warning dissemination and communication, and preparedness and response capacities.
The workshop reiterated the critical nature of sea-level data for tsunami early warning, enhancing safety of life and efficiency of maritime operations at critical infrastructure facilities, and requested ports, harbors and coastal airports to strengthen tide gauge networks in their facilities and to enable real-time data sharing with tsunami early warning centers. The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to develop time-line driven Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), stakeholder roles and responsibilities and early warning chains and for ports, harbors and coastal airports, which were tested during a tabletop exercise at the end of the workshop.
The workshop delivered a request for UNESCO – through the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) and the Secretariat and Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC) – to promote further capacity development initiatives. Both entities are active in the development of regional guidelines for tsunami hazard and risk assessment, mitigation, emergency response, evacuation, recovery and business continuity for critical infrastructure facilities along the coast.
40 participants from 14 countries*, representing ports, harbors, coastal airports, NTWCs and Special Economic Zones, participated in the workshop facilitated by IOTIC and the ICG/IOTWMS Secretariat, with the support of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG).
*Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and Tanzania.
Source: UN Educational