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Major Tsunami Warning System Restrictions Worldwide

It’s been quite a long time when the tsunami in the South Pacific killed approx. 45-50 people. According to experts, since a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed 22000-23000 people, the recent disaster has revealed alarm systems' limitations.

A tsunami on Samoa islands and Tonga, in the South Pacific, caused by an underwater eight magnitude earthquake in devastating towns and villages which is believed to have killed at least 148 people. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck later near Padang which is the capital of the Indonesian province of West Sumatra, killing around 430-460 people. These disasters have led to renewed discussions on the efficiency of early alert system since the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

In the past four and a half years, countries throughout the Asia Pacific have developed a range of warning systems. They vary from beach loudspeakers to profound sea surveillance buoys as well as SMS transmitter to alert tsunami individuals and encourage them to seek security on higher ground. Every nation has some kind of early warning system - New Zealand, Australia, for example, have their own systems. And, according to a study done by Winfried Hanka, the seismologist, nations such as Fiji, which do not have their own technology at least can spread the news.

Japan is One Step Ahead

Some Pacific nations entered forces in 1965 and have since then been sending data to Hawaii's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center from their early alert systems. The center evaluates the information 24 hours a day based on its seismological measures. Besides, Jakarta is home to a big Early Warning Center for the Tsunami which was set up in the early part of the 2004 tsunami with monetary assistance and knowledge from Potsdam's GFZ.

According to Hanka, our idea is that when sending an alert, we attempt to be very accurate. This is not simply an ordinary warning in the Pacific, normally. On the contrary, we attempt to tell what waves can be anticipated and which towns must be evacuated. This is the objective of our system with pre-calculated tsunami simulations.

Hanka said, Japan has an advanced tsunami warning system concerning Hawaii and Jakarta and has used that system to warn neighboring nations about the imminent catastrophe. The Japanese have invested in it plenty of funds. It consists of thousands of seismometers and several meters in height. But here and there, too, there are victims which means you cannot avoid it entirely.

Limitations Put Alert System in Trouble

Experts acknowledge that tsunami warning systems can't deal with the tsunami if it's especially strong or quick. A magnitude-8 quake struck too close to Western Samoa and US Samoa and was not quick enough to give many advisories, according to the report by the President of the Australian Earthquake Engineering Company.

In most nations like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, tsunami warning systems are ineffective because the lead time is too short, the source added further. Therefore, it's quite easier to teach people to get higher immediately if the shake-up lasts more than 25-30 seconds.

At speeds of up to 750-799 km per hour, Tsunami crosses the open ocean and slams on the shore at heights up to 40 meters. Hanka said the recent tsunami showed that Samoa's early warning system required to be improved, which typically calls for a substantial investment. But he added that a better alert system would likely not have prevented the latest disaster.

Preparedness of Tsunami

Avoid dropped transmission lines and don't get close to the buildings that could fall easily. Keep away until the local authorities tell you that you are safe. A tsunami is a sequence of waves which can last for hours. Don't think that the risk is over after one wave.

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