Focus: GS-III Disaster Management
- India is much safer against tsunami threat than it was in 2004, thanks to the state-of-the-art tsunami early warning system established at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS).
- From absolutely no warning capability or for that matter any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, we have reached a stage where we can detect large under sea earthquakes in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10 – 20 minutes after the earthquake occurrence.
- However, the best of warning systems could fail, if communities are not prepared, if they do not understand the official and natural warning signs of a tsunami, and if they do not take appropriate and timely response.
The focus in recent times has been on enhancing community awareness and response through several capacity building activities, biennial Indian Ocean wide tsunami drills and piloting of the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready initiative to provide a structured framework to build and measure capacities of coastal communities to respond effectively to tsunamis, through 11 important indicators.
Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS)
- The Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) was established in 2007 and is based at & operated by INCOIS, Hyderabad.
- It is an integrated effort of different organizations including the Department of Space (DOS), Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Survey of India (SOI) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
- ITEWS comprises a real-time network of seismic stations, tide gauges and a 24X7 operational tsunami warning centre to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes, to monitor tsunamis and to provide timely advisories to vulnerable communities.
- Indian scientists can detect large undersea earthquakes in Indian Ocean in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10-20 minutes after the earthquake occurs.
- In 2004, India didn’t have any tsunami warning capability nor any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.
- India is among the first few centres to introduce quantitative tsunami forecasts.
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (also known as UNESCO-IOC) accredited Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) as Tsunami Service Provider (TSP) for 28 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries, along with Indonesia and Australia in 2011, for issuing regional warnings.
Recent Focus in Tsunami Warning Capability
- The focus in recent times has been on enhancing community awareness and response through several capacity building activities, biennial Indian Ocean wide tsunami drills and piloting of the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready initiative.
- Tsunami Ready is a community performance-based programme to promote tsunami preparedness through active collaboration of public, community leaders, and national and local emergency management agencies.
- The main objective of this programme is to improve coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies, to minimize the loss of life and property and to ensure a structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness through fulfilling the best-practice indicators.
- Two villages of Odisha- Venkatraipur in Ganjam district and Noliasahi in Jagatsinghpur district are now ‘Tsunami Ready’.
- INCOIS is establishing a network of 35 stations to estimate the tectonic plate’s movements in real-time and measure the vertical displacements under the sea directly.
- INCOIS was established in 1999 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- INCOIS through Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) is the nodal agency to provide tsunami advisories to India.
- It is coordinating with the Disaster Management Officials (DMOs) for implementation of Tsunami Ready programme in India.
- It conducts IOWave Tsunami mock exercises biannually to strengthen the readiness to handle the emergency situations with stakeholders.
- INCOIS also identifies the Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) for the fishermen community.
- It has also made improvement in overcoming the cloud cover through usage of geostationary satellites and numerical modelling.
- INCOIS has also partnered with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop a satellite-based message broadcasting services through the indigenous navigational satellite communication system ‘NAVIC’.
-Source: The Hindu