ICT for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness[edit]

The first important steps towards reducing disaster impact are to correctly analyse the
potential risk and identify measures that can prevent, mitigate or prepare for emergencies.
ICT can play a significant role in highlighting risk areas, vulnerabilities and potentially affected
populations by producing geographically referenced analysis through, for example, a
geographic information system (GIS). The importance of timely disaster warning in mitigating
negative impacts can never be underestimated. For example, although damage to property
cannot be avoided, developed countries have been able to reduce loss of life due to disasters
much more effectively than their counterparts in the developing world (see Table 1). A key
reason for this is the implementation of effective disaster warning systems and evacuation
procedures used by the developed countries, and the absence of such measures in the
developing world.

Landslip after the earthquake in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.jpg

A major landslip after the earthquake in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

Table 1: Comparison of Damage Caused by Three Recent Disasters

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Sources: BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk; Central Bank of Sri Lanka: http://www.cbsl.lk; http://www.pakquake.com; US National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

All the figures reported in Table 1 are rough estimates as it is impossible to have exact figures in
such situations. However, Table 1 clearly shows that in the case of Hurricane Katrina, although
the economic loss and damage to property were much higher, the number of deaths was
remarkably less than that resulting from the Indian Ocean tsunami in Sri Lanka and the Pakistan
earthquake. This is largely because in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the victims were mainly
communities living below the poverty line – a factor that significantly contributed to their
vulnerability – and because effective disaster warning systems were not in place. In New
Orleans, official warnings were dispatched in advance and many in the affected areas were
evacuated in time. In addition, the disaster management process was much better than what it
had been in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, despite the heavy criticism it received.

A warning can be defined as the communication of information about a hazard or threat to a
population at risk, in order for them to take appropriate actions to mitigate any potentially
negative impacts on themselves, those in their care and their property (Samarajiva et al., 2005).

The occurrence of a hazard does not necessarily result in a disaster.While hazards cannot be
avoided, their negative impacts can be mitigated. The goal of early public warning is to ensure
to the greatest extent possible that the hazard does not become a disaster. Such warnings must
be unambiguous, communicate the risks succinctly and provide necessary guidance.

The success of a warning can be measured by the actions that it causes people to take, such as
evacuation or avoiding at-risk areas. In a disaster situation, there is no doubt that timely
warnings allow people to take actions that save lives, reduce damage to property and minimize
human suffering. To facilitate an effective warning system, there is a major need for better
coordination among the early warning providers as well as those handling logistics and raising
awareness about disaster preparedness and management.

While disaster warnings are meant to be a public good, they are often most effectively delivered
through privately-owned communication networks and devices. There are many new
communication technologies that allow warning providers not only to reach the people at risk
but also to personalize their warning message to a particular situation. Opportunities are
available right now to significantly reduce loss of life and potential economic hardship if
disaster warning systems can be improved.

It is important to note that disaster warning is indeed a system, not a singular technology,
constituting the identification, detection and risk assessment of the hazard, the accurate
identification of the vulnerability of a population at risk, and finally, the communication of information about the threat to the vulnerable population in sufficient time and clarity so that
they can take action to avert negative consequences. This final component underscores the
importance of education and creating awareness in the population so that they may respond
with the appropriate actions (Samarajiva et al., 2005).

Key Players in Disaster Warning[edit]

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) identifies several
key parties that play major roles in the disaster management process, especially in disaster
warning (UN/ISDR, 2006).

Communities, particularly those most vulnerable, are vital to people-centred early warning
systems. Their input into system design and their ability to respond ultimately determine the
extent of risk associated with natural hazards. Communities should be aware of hazards and
potential negative impacts to which they are exposed and be able to take specific actions to
minimize the threat of loss or damage. As such, the geographic location of a community is an
essential determinant in the selection of disasters on which the system should focus their
community education.For example, coastal communities need to be educated and prepared for
the possibility of a tsunami, while a mountain community can be educated to respond to an
early warning system for landslides.

Local governments should have considerable knowledge of the hazards to which their
communities are exposed. They must be actively involved in the design and maintenance of
early warning systems, and understand information received to be able to advise, instruct or
engage the local population in a manner that increases their safety and reduces the potential
loss of resources on which the community depends.

National governments are responsible for policies and frameworks that facilitate early
warning, in addition to the technical systems necessary for the preparation and issuance of
timely and effective hazard warnings for their respective countries. They should ensure that
warnings and related responses are directed towards the most vulnerable populations through
the design of holistic disaster response and early warning frameworks that address the specific
needs of the related micro- and macro-level actors. The provision of support to local
communities and local governments to develop operational capabilities is an essential function
to translate early warning knowledge into risk reduction practices.

Regional institutions and organizations should provide specialized knowledge and advice in
support of national efforts to develop or sustain the operational capabilities of countries that
share a common geographical environment. Regional organizations are crucial to linking
international capabilities to the particular needs of individual countries and in facilitating
effective early warning practices among adjacent countries.

International bodies should provide support for national early warning activities and foster
the exchange of data and knowledge between individual countries. Support may include the
provision of advisory information, technical assistance, and policy and organizational support
necessary to ensure the development and operational capabilities of national authorities or
agencies responsible for early warning practice.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a critical role in raising awareness among
individuals and organizations involved in early warning and in the implementation of early
warning systems, particularly at the community level. In addition, they play an important
advocacy role to help ensure that early warning stays on the agenda of government policy
makers.

The private sector has a diverse role to play in early warning, including developing early
warning capabilities in their own organizations. The private sector is also essential as they are
usually better equipped to implement ICT-based solutions. The private sector has a large
untapped potential to help provide skilled services in the form of technical manpower,
know-how, or donations of goods or services (in-kind and cash), especially for the
communication, dissemination and response elements of early warning.

The media plays an important role in improving the disaster consciousness of the general
population and in disseminating early warnings.The media can be the critical link between the
agency providing the warning and the general public.

The scientific community has a critical role in providing specialized scientific and technical
input to assist governments and communities in developing early warning systems. Their
expertise is critical to analysing the risks communities face from natural hazards, supporting the
design of scientific and systematic monitoring and warning services, fostering data exchange,
translating scientific or technical information into comprehensible messages, and disseminating
understandable warnings to those at risk.

Channels Used for Disaster Warning[edit]

The following are some of the media – both traditional and new – that can be effectively used
for disaster warning purposes. Some may be more effective than the rest, depending on the
nature of the disaster, the regions affected, the socio-economic status of the affected
communities and their political architecture. However, it is not a question of one medium
against another. All are means to a common goal of passing along disaster warnings as quickly
and as accurately as possible. Any one or combination of the following media can be used for
that purpose.

Radio and Television[edit]

Considered the most traditional electronic media used for disaster warning, radio and television
have a valid use. The effectiveness of these two media is high because even in developing
countries and rural environments where the tele-density is relatively low, they can be used to
spread a warning quickly to a broad population.The only possible drawback of these two media
is that their effectiveness is significantly reduced at night, when they are normally switched off.
A study on media, perception and disaster-related behaviour in Bangladesh revealed that early,
easily understandable and language-appropriate warning dissemination through radio can
reduce the potential death toll of catastrophic cyclone and tidal bore. The study, conducted by
the Forum for Development, Journalism and Communication Studies, recommended that
relevant authorities develop innovative warning signal systems and take necessary steps to
disseminate the warning in easily understood language through radio at least two days before
a cyclone hits, hence mitigating the loss of lives and property every year in Bangladesh.
Mohammad Sahid Ullah, the Chittagong University professor who led the study, suggests that
part of the process is increasing public confidence in broadcast media since self-evacuation and
the poor quality of shelters are the major causes of death (Sahid Ullah, 2003).
After the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004,many radio manufacturers considered introducing new
digital radio alert systems that react even if the set is switched off. In order to trigger this alarm,
a special flag integrated into the received signal from a terrestrial transmitter or a satellite would
be used and the set would automatically tune to the emergency broadcast channel. The only
disadvantage of this system is that to introduce a new generation of receivers in analogue
environment generally takes 5 to 10 years. With digital receivers, this would be somewhat
easier (Dunnette, 2006).

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Telephone (Fixed and Mobile)[edit]

Telephones can play an important role in warning communities about the impending danger of
a disaster.There were many examples of how simple phone warnings saved many lives in South
Asian countries during the 2004 tsunami.
Perhaps the most famous was an incident that occurred in one small coastal village of Nallavadu
in Pondicherry, India. A timely telephone call – warning about the impending tsunami – was said
to have saved the village’s entire population of 3,600 inhabitants, as well as those of three
neighbouring villages.
Villagers of Nallavadu were involved in the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation’s
Information Village Research Project. Vijayakumar, a former project volunteer, was working in
Singapore and heard a tsunami alert issued there. He immediately phoned the research centre
in Nallavadu, which issued an alert. His quick thinking, followed by swift and coordinated action,
led to the evacuation of the four villages before the tsunami hit the coast (Subramanian, 2005).
In some countries, mechanisms called ‘telephone trees’ are used to warn communities of
impending dangers. An individual represents a ‘node’ in a telephone tree.When that individual
receives a warning message (either through phone or by other means), s/he is supposed to
make a pre-determined number of phone calls (usually four or five) to others in a pre-prepared list. This arrangement not only ensures the timely delivery of the warning message, but also
ensures the minimum duplication of efforts.
However, there are two drawbacks to using telephones for disaster warning. Telephone
penetration in many areas is still not satisfactory – particularly in rural and coastal areas most at
risk. Even with the exponential increase in the number of phones that has occurred in recent
years, there are still many regions in the Asia-Pacific region, where a telephone is considered a
luxury. The other drawback is the congestion of phone lines that usually occurs immediately
before and during a disaster, resulting in many phone calls in that vital period that cannot
be completed.

Short Message Service[edit]

Short message service (SMS) is a service available on most digital mobile phones that permits
the sending of short messages (also known as ‘text messages’, ‘SMSes’, ‘texts’ or ‘txts’) between
mobile phones, other handheld devices and even landline telephones.
During the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in the US, many residents of affected coastal areas
were unable to make contact with relatives and friends using traditional landline phones.
However, they could communicate with each other via SMS more easily when the network was
functional. This is because SMS works on a different band and can be sent or received even
when phone lines are congested. SMS also has another advantage over voice calls in that one
message can be sent to a group simultaneously.

Cell Broadcasting[edit]

Most of today’s wireless systems support a feature called cell broadcasting. A public warning
message in text can be sent to the screens of all mobile devices with such capability in any
group of cells of any size, ranging from one single cell (about 8 kilometres across) to the whole
country if necessary. CDMA, D-AMPS, GSM and UMTS [4] phones have this capability.
There are four important points to recall about the use of cell broadcasting for emergency
purposes:

  • There is no additional cost to implement cell broadcasting. It is already resident in most

network infrastructure and in the phones, so there is no need to build any towers, lay any
cable, write any software or replace handsets.

  • It is not affected by traffic load; therefore it will be of use during a disaster, when load spikes

tend to crash networks, as the London bombings in 2005 showed. Also, cell broadcasting
does not cause any significant load of its own, so it would not add to congestion.

  • Cell broadcasting is geo-scalable, so a message can reach hundreds of millions of people

across continents within a minute.

  • It is geo-specific, so that government disaster managers can avoid panic and road jamming

by telling each neighbourhood specifically if they should evacuate or stay put.

The only possible disadvantage to cell broadcasting is that not every user may be able to read
a text message when they receive it. In many Asia-Pacific countries, a sizeable population of the
phone users cannot read and understand a message sent in English.Thus, it is essential to send
warning messages in local languages. However, these messages would still be inaccessible to
those who cannot read, even in their own language. The Dutch Government plans to start using cell broadcasting for emergency warnings.
The infrastructure is already in operation with the operators KPN, Telfort and Vodafone. It is
believed to be the first multi-operator warning system in the world, based on cell broadcasting
with government use (Clothier, 2005).

Satellite Radio[edit]

A satellite radio or subscription radio is a digital radio that receives signals broadcast by
communications satellite, which covers a much wider geographical range than terrestrial radio
signals.
Satellite radio functions anywhere there is line of sight between the antenna and the satellite,
given there are no major obstructions such as tunnels or buildings.Satellite radio audiences can
follow a single channel regardless of location within a given range.
Satellite radio can play a key role during both disaster warning and disaster recovery phases.
Its key advantage is the ability to work even outside of areas not covered by normal radio
channels. Satellite radios can also be of help when the transmission towers of the normal radio
station are damaged in a disaster.

Table 2: Radio Communication Media Used in Disaster Warning and Management

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified various radio communication
media that can be used in disaster-related situations (see Table 2).

Internet/Email[edit]

The role Internet, email and instant messages can play in disaster warning entirely depends on
their penetration within a community and usage by professionals such as first responders,
coordinating bodies, etc.While these media can play a prominent role in a developed country,
where nearly half of all homes and almost all offices have Internet connections, this is not the
case in the developing world. In many developing countries, less than 5 percent of the
population uses the Internet and even those who are users do not use it on a regular basis. In
such a situation, it is difficult to expect Internet and email to play any critical role.
In spite of that drawback, many disaster-related activities are already underway within the
Internet community. For example, a new proposal for using the Internet to quickly warn large
numbers of people of impending emergencies is currently being drafted by the Internet
Engineering Task Force.

At a 1997 international conference on ‘Harnessing the Internet for Disasters and Epidemics’,
participants raised issues affecting their ability to use the Internet for improving crisis
management. Concerns included the high cost of technology, a lack of content in local
languages, and governmental controls on information exchange.“The most significant obstacle
impeding widespread Internet usage was the widening gap between those with unlimited
access and those, whose access to information and new technologies was restricted by
economic, linguistic, cultural or administrative constraints”, highlights the Pan American Health
Organization’s report on the conference. Without direct communication between decision-makers and without a free flow of reliable information among all involved, effective contingency
planning and emergency response are at risk (Putnam, 2002).

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Amateur and Community Radio[edit]

For almost a century, amateur radio (also known as ‘ham radio’) operators have assisted their
communities and countries during disasters by providing reliable communications to disaster
relief organizations at a moment’s notice – especially when traditional communications
infrastructure breaks down. In such a situation, amateur radio operators transmit emergency
messages on voice mode about the well-being of survivors and information on casualties to
friends and relatives. As was evident during the Indian Ocean tsunami that destroyed
electricity and communications infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, amateur
radio operators were the critical link between the islands and the Indian mainland and helped
in the coordination of rescue and relief operations.

Besides disseminating voice-based messages, some amateur radio operators can also transmit
in digital modes that include technologies such as radio teletype, tele-printing over radio,
packet radio transmission and the recent Phase Shift Keying, 31 Baud – a type of modulation.
Amateur radio broadcasters are authorized to communicate on high frequency (HF), very high
frequency (VHF), ultra high frequency (UHF) or all three bands of the radio spectrum. They
require a license from the licensing authority to ensure that only competent operators use their skills. However, depending on the country, obtaining a license can be a long process.

The most effective mode to exchange messages in an email-style is pactor using Airmail as email client and Winlink2000 as network on shortwave. A very valuable advantage is that the user can address any valid emailaddress worldwide through hf-radio and winlink. Destroyed internetinfrastructure can be bridged by this technology until a gateway (more than 150 worldwide RMS) with working internetaccess can be reached. More information about Winlink2000.

Messages can be disseminated using one or more of the available bands. HF waves travel long
distances, while VHF and UHF waves travel very short distances as these are line-of-sight
propagation. However, repeaters increase the communications range and temporary repeaters
can be set up in an emergency so that messages can reach the nearest town or city (Acharya,
2005).

There are no well-known case studies where community radio has been successfully used for
disaster warning purposes. The main reason can be because this is not a widespread media
channel in many countries. Even where there are community radio systems, they operate
within limited areas. Nevertheless, community radio is a medium that can be very effectively
used for disaster warning purposes.The effectiveness of this medium is being tested through a
disaster warning system implemented by Sarvodaya, the most widespread NGO in Sri Lanka
(Daily News, 2006).

Sirens[edit]

Though not necessarily an ICT-based solution, sirens can be used in tandem with other ICT
media for final, localized delivery.
The strengths of each medium and the challenges in using them are summarized in Table 3.

Table 3: Comparison of Different Communication Channels Used in Disaster Warning

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GIS and Remote Sensing in Disaster Management [5] [edit]

GIS can be loosely defined as a system of hardware and software used for storage, retrieval,
mapping and analysis of geographic data. Spatial features are stored in a coordinate system
(latitude, longitude, state, plane, etc.) that references a particular place on the earth.Descriptive
attributes in tabular form are associated with spatial features. Spatial data and
associated attributes in the same coordinate system can then be layered together for mapping
and analysis. GIS can be used for scientific investigations, resource management and
development planning.

Remote sensing is the measurement or acquisition of information about an object or
phenomenon by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object.
In practice, remote sensing is the remote utilization (as from aircraft, spacecraft, satellite or ship)
of any device for gathering information about the environment. Thus, an aircraft taking
photographs, earth observation and weather satellites, monitoring of a foetus in the womb via
ultrasound, and space probes are all examples of remote sensing. In modern usage, the term
generally refers to techniques involving the use of instruments aboard aircraft and spacecraft.
As disaster management work usually involves a large number of different agencies
working in different areas, the need for detailed geographical information in order to make
critical decisions is high. By utilizing a GIS, agencies involved in the response can share information through databases on computer-generated maps in one location. Without this
capability, disaster management workers have to access a number of department managers,
their unique maps and their unique data. Most disasters do not allow time to gather these
resources. GIS thus provides a mechanism to centralize and visually display critical information
during an emergency.
There is an obvious advantage to using a map with remote sensing or GIS inputs instead
of a static geographical map. A static map is mostly analogous and is not interactive. On
the other hand, a vulnerability map with GIS input provides dynamic information with
cause and effect relationship. As shown in Figure 6, the visualization effect is much more
effective in the latter case.

Figure 6: Difference Between an Ordinary (2D) Map and a Map with GIS Input

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GIS-based space technology solutions have become an integral part of disaster management
activities in many developed and some developing countries. The United Nations Office for
Outer Space Affairs has been implementing a Space Technology and Disaster Management
Programme to support developing countries in incorporating space-based solutions in disaster
management activities.
The use of GIS in different phases can be illustrated as follows:

Planning[edit]

Locating and identifying potential problems is a core requirement in disaster management. GIS
can be used effectively to achieve this objective. Using a GIS, it is possible to pinpoint hazard
trends and start to evaluate the consequences of potential emergencies or disasters. When
hazards are viewed with other map data, such as buildings, residential areas, rivers and
waterways, streets, pipelines, power lines, storage facilities, forests, etc., disaster management
officials can formulate mitigation, preparedness, response and possible recovery needs.
Information derived from remote sensing and satellite imagery plays an important role in
disaster management and crisis prevention. Their effective application depends not solely on
technical specifications, but is influenced by factors such as data collection, processing and
distribution, capacity building, institutional development and information sharing. Earth
observation satellites could be used to view the same area over long periods of time and, as a
result, make it possible to monitor environmental change, human impact and natural
processes. This would facilitate scientists and planners in creating models that would simulate
trends observed in the past, present and also assist with projections for the future.

Mitigation[edit]

After potential emergency situations are identified, mitigation needs can be addressed.
This process involves analysing the developments in the immediate aftermath of a disaster,
evaluating the damage and determining what facilities are required to be reinforced for
construction or relocation purposes.Mitigation may also include implementing legislation that
prevents building structures in areas prone to earthquake, flood or tsunami. Other mitigation
approaches may target fire-safe roofing materials in wildfire hazard areas. Utilizing existing
databases linked to geographic features in GIS makes the task of monitoring these possible.

Preparedness[edit]

During the preparedness and response phases, GIS can accurately support better response
planning in areas such as determining evacuation routes or locating vulnerable infrastructure
and vital lifelines, etc. It also supports logistical planning to be able to provide relief supplies by
displaying previously available information on roads, bridges, airports, railway and port
conditions and limitations.Apart from this, activities such as evacuee camp planning can also be
done using GIS.

GIS can also provide answers to some of the questions important to disaster management
officers, such as the exact location of the fire stations if a five-minute response time is expected
or the number and locations of paramedic units required in a specific emergency. Based on the
information provided by GIS, it is also possible to estimate what quantity of food supplies, bed
space, clothes and medicine will be required at each shelter based on the number of expected
evacuees.
In addition, GIS can display real-time monitoring for emergency early warning. Remote weather
stations can provide current weather indexes based on location and surrounding areas.Wind
direction, temperature and relative humidity can be displayed by the reporting weather station.
Wind information is vital in predicting the movement of a chemical cloud release or
anticipating the direction of wildfire spread upon early report. Earth movements (earthquake),
reservoir level at dam sights, radiation monitors, etc. can all be monitored and displayed by
location in GIS. If necessary, this type of information and geographic display can be delivered
over the Internet to the public.

Case Study:The Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS) for South-East Asia[edit]

The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 took many Asian countries by surprise.There was
virtually no warning until thousands of people suddenly found themselves in the middle of
giant killer waves.
In the aftermath of the tsunami, several international meetings have been held among
countries in the Indian Ocean rim to concertedly address threats from similar disasters. It was
agreed that arrangements for a Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS) in the Indian Ocean and
South-East Asia should build on existing institutions, strengthen national capacities, integrate
early warning with preparedness, mitigation and response (end-to-end), and must furthermore
be integrated into existing warning systems to promote a multi-hazard approach.
The partner countries in this effort were Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines,
Singapore,Thailand and Viet Nam.
The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) is a non-profit organization supporting the
advancement of safer communities and sustainable development through implementing
programmes and projects that reduce the impact of disasters upon countries and communities
in Asia and the Pacific, by:

  • Developing and enhancing sustainable institutional disaster risk management capacities,

frameworks and mechanisms, and supporting the development and implementation of
government policies;

  • Facilitating the dissemination and exchange of disaster risk management expertise,

experience and information; and

  • Raising awareness and enhancing disaster risk management knowledge and skills.

In March 2005, ADPC, in partnership with the Royal Thai Government and in collaboration with
the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, organized a
Regional Meeting of the above countries to assess the feasibility of implementing a
Multi-Hazard Early Warning System in South-East Asia.

In April 2005, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka indicated interest in receiving similar support to
enhance their national early warning capacity and capabilities. Consequently, ADPC has been
working with these governments and in the Maldives to enhance emergency communication
systems through an ITU-funded project. ADPC furthermore completed an assessment of Sri
Lanka’s early warning systems through a separate UNDP-funded project.

The donor agencies for the implementation of TEWS are UNDP, The Danish National
Development Agency and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This warning system is designed to be end-to-end, encompassing both technological
components and the training of both affected and at-risk communities in preparedness and
response measures. Each component is important and should be given equal development
focus. The non-technical components of hazard mapping and risk assessment, risk reduction
and preparedness activities, and efficient warning dissemination reaching vulnerable local
coastal communities are the most challenging to develop in a comprehensive early warning
system, as these involve societal dimensions.

Figure 7: Implementation Plan of the Tsunami Early Warning System

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Some of the existing early warning systems in the region address recurrent hazards such as
cyclones/typhoons, floods and drought. Investing in hazard monitoring and forecasting for a
rare event such as a tsunami is costly in terms of capital and the required investment of human
resources.

Hence, in the face of low tsunami frequency, but the prevalence of high-risk coastal zones
(due to population growth and development), resources to undertake hazard monitoring and
forecasting are pooled in a regional monitoring system and forecasting centre in order to
provide an economically sustainable system.
The technical components are comprised of a network of seismographic stations, sea-level
gauges and deep-sea pressure sensors, a data-processing and tsunami forecasting centre, and
communication links to regional tsunami warning centres. These are in turn linked to national
disaster management and warning systems.
The network will utilize relevant facilities already available in the countries (assessed by the
Inter-Governmental Oceanographic Commission and in national workshops arranged by ADPC)
and consider the establishment of new ones.

The network of accelerographs, to be located in islands close to the coastlines of Indonesia and
the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, will provide rapid estimation of the tsunamagenic potential
of an earthquake. Deep-ocean pressure sensors detect the early passage of a tsunami before it
reaches shallow waters and the coast. Sea-level gauges, to be strategically located close to
tsunami sources and in areas that would provide sufficient lead-time for response, are essential
in determining the passage of a tsunami wave following an earthquake, to monitor its progress,
estimate the severity of the hazard along the coast, and provide a basis for declaring the end of
a hazard.
The sea-level gauge stations are designed for long-term sea-level monitoring, but are capable
of monitoring tsunami and storm surges. High-frequency sea-level data will be transmitted via
the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites Meteosat-5 and the
Japanese Meteorological Agency’s Geostationary Meteorological Satellites, and are connected
to the Global Sea-Level Observation System Core Network.

Risk assessments and training will be conducted with the relevant national authority. Utilizing
satellite imagery, GIS and further applicable technologies, ADPC will support bathymetric
surveys and national training workshops on risk mapping, conduct a pilot risk-mapping survey
(to be replicated in other vulnerable locations by the national authorities), and support
regional workshops on numerical prediction models facilitated by the acquisition of the
modelling tools.
Community preparedness activities are the most critical component of this system.
The technological capacity of a system is obsolete without a prepared or fully aware public.
Despite the dissemination of a warning, communities that lack sufficient preparedness and
training in effective responses to both the warning and the event remain acutely vulnerable.

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Figure 8: AlertNet Website

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