island shorelineClose to 30 countries in the Pacific Ocean participated in the first region-wide test of a tsunami early warning system this week. The drill tested national and international communication networks “to make sure that the information is received quickly by the right people in all participating countries.”

“The test has shown that our communication system and general preparedness is by and large working well,” UNSECO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said in a statement. “It’s clear that the drill has been a great success.” . . .


In the May 17 scenario, a 9.2 earthquake off the Chilean coast was announced by the system’s hub in Hawaii. Chilean authorities would have had to respond in few minutes, but Japan would have had 22 hours to assess the event and adopt the “proper” emergency measures.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii was established 40 years ago by the United Nations’ UNESCO-IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The IOC is now installing a similar system in the India Ocean, which is due to start functioning in the coming year.

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