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Asia Dive News : Indonesia to create tsunami warning system

JAKARTA - Indonesia will establish a tsunami warning system in its most earthquake-prone region by the end of 2005, a government scientist said on Thursday 6th.

The system, developed by German and Indonesian researchers, involves sensors on the ocean floor and buoys on the surface of the sea that transmit earthquake and tsunami activity to observation stations on the coast via satellite.

Next week, a joint team will set sail for the west coast of Sumatra to install the first of the equipment, said government scientist Idwan Suhardi.

The Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami killed or left missing more than 220,000 people in 11 Indian Ocean nations. Sumatra, on the westernmost end of the Indonesian archipelago, was the hardest hit, losing some 128,000 people.

Countries facing the Indian Ocean are now rushing to put in place systems that can detect a tsunami and quickly warn coastal communities so they have time to flee to higher ground before the waves hit.

Suhardi said that the buoys would be placed around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the shore -- far enough to give an hour warning.

The buoys will transmit the information to coastal observation stations on the coast, which would automatically alert the local media and residents via mobile phone text message, e-mail and fax, he said.

He said the system would be in place by the end of the year in the Sumatra region.

Sumatra has been wracked by scores of powerful aftershocks since the monster quake that generated the tsunami last year. Experts say the fault line that triggered that temblor is unstable and could produce another massive quake in the near future.

Source: CTV