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Tsunami early warning systems in Indonesia pass the test

Tsunami early warning systems have demonstrated their usefulness after yesterday's seaquake.
Picture: Courtesy of DLR

On 11 April 2012 a 8.6 magnitude earthquake occurred at 8.38 UTC, 437 km southwest of Banda Aceh in Indonesia and 33 km beneath the ocean floor, prompting a tsunami watch to be immediately issued for Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Crozet Islands, Diego Garcia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Kerguelen Islands, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Reunion, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Indonesian President and UNISDR Global Disaster Risk Reduction Champion, Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, told the press, "Our early warning system is working well". The tsunami warning was lifted several hours later.

One of the Indonesian early warning systems was developed in a joint project between Germany and Indonesia - GITEWS. After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, Germany and Indonesia designed a new system to warn people when a tidal wave is about to strike. The German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System combines data from underwater probes, orbiting global positioning system satellites, and floating buoys, to better detect a coming tidal wave.

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