End to End TEWS

Prior to the 2004 Indian Ocean catastrophe, the infrequency of tsunamis had disarmed scientists, decision makers, funding agencies and policy makers, but we have since learnt from this tragedy and other experiences, appreciating the true potential of this hazard.  In response to this tragic tsunami on 26 December 2004, in which over 250,000 lives were lost around the Indian Ocean region, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO/IOC) received a mandate from the international community to follow the example of the Pacific Tsunami Warning System (developed in 1965), and coordinate the establishment of an Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for each of the following regions:

  1. The Caribbean and Adjacent Regions;
  2. The North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas; and
  3. The Indian Ocean,

to guide the development of end-to-end tsunami early warning systems (TEWS) in those areas.  An “end-to-end warning system” emphasizes warning systems which comprise four key elements – hazard detection and monitoring, hazard assessment and mappings, communication or dissemination of alerts and warnings as well as preparedness, readiness and response.  The objective of any TEWS is to generate and disseminate timely and meaningful warning information to enable individuals, communities and organizations threatened by a tsunami to prepare and to act appropriately and in sufficient time to reduce the possibility of harm or loss.

UNESCO/IOC has led Member States in the four (4) regions across the globe to develop their own regional and to some extent, national TEWS including long term mitigation measures and a programme to educate and prepare endangered communities for future events.  Critical to the development of the TEWS Tsunami Warning Centres and Tsunami Information Centres

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Source: U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Program (US IOTWS). 2007. Tsunami Warning Center. Reference Guide supported by the United States Agency for International Development and partners, Bangkok, Thailand. 311 p

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