Vol. 5 Num 418 Sat. July 30, 2005  
Front Page

Asia to have tsunami alert system by Dec

Disaster early warning towers will be in place across southeast Asia in time for the first anniversary of the Dec 26 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, the United Nations said yesterday.

The UN Development Programme said it would build five equipment-packed monitoring towers off the coasts of Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines with the help of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC)

The $500,000 project should minimise the risk of false alarms like one issued by Thailand last week following an earthquake underneath the Indian Ocean, Suvit Yodmani, head of the non-governmental ADPC, told a news conference.

"If you have too many of these false alarms, then people are going to be quite nonchalant if it happens to be the real thing," he said.

Other countries in the region, including Australia, had already installed the Hawaiian-made monitoring systems which send back information to a centralised database known as the Global Sea Level Observing System.

The new towers in Southeast Asia will be connected to that system.