Two training workshops on tsunami preparedness and response for Dominican Republic were held in Santo Domingo and Las Terrenas on July 14-15 and July 17-18, 2014, respectively. The events were hosted by the Global Foundation for Defense (FUNGLODE), thru its Center for Security and Defense, and the National District and Las Terrenas municipalities. Over 250 participants from namely Neighborhood Associations, Firefighters, Civil Defense, Police, Red Cross, Schools, Local Governments, Faith Based Organizations, Hotel Associations and Private Sector benefited from the lectures and exercises. The objective was to encourage the establishment of preventive measures through education, to outline procedures and foster a culture of disaster prevention by empowering local institutions and neighborhoods resulting in the protection of life, property and livelihoods for tsunami events.
The training included presentations and three hands on exercises on tsunami evacuation mapping, community and organizational standard operational procedures and a table top exercise with southern and northern Dominican Republic earthquake/tsunami scenarios. The workshop was conducted by a team of 8 trainers from Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, the National Meteorological Organization, the Center for Emergency Operations, Civil Defense, National Emergency Commission, Global Matrix Engineering, Puerto Rico Seismic Network and the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program (NWS/NOAA) with support from the Dominican Media Association and IOC/UNESCO. This was the third time that FUNGLODE has hosted this training in the Dominican Republic since 2012.
A regional training workshop on tsunami warning and emergency response Standard Operating Procedures for Northern and Western Indian Ocean countries was held in Hyderabad, India, 23-26 June 2014, hosted by the Government of India through the Indian Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). The workshop was attended by 30 participants from 11 countries, namely: Comoros, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and Yemen. The workshop was conducted by a team of 10 trainers from Australia, India, Indonesia, United States, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, UNESCO Disaster Risk Reduction and Tsunami Information Unit, Jakarta and IOC UNESCO.
The participants represented National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWCs), Disaster Management Organisations (DMOs) and national media organisations. The workshop programme included lecture sessions, breakout group work, and a site visit to the Indian National Tsunami Warning Centre and IOTWS Regional Tsunami Service Provider at INCOIS. The lectures and training material were based on manuals and templates developed by IOC UNESCO in collaboration with the NOAA International Tsunami Information Centre (ITIC) since 2008.
The primary objectives of the workshop were: to understand RTSP services and products; to understand the impact of the RTSP products on NTWC SOPs; to identify potential gaps and possible challenges for warning chain SOPs at the national level; to familiarise the electronic media with the RTSP service and develop/adapt SOPs for interfacing with the media; and to prepare for the IOWave14 Exercise, scheduled to take place on 9 and 10 September 2014.
The tabletop exercise on the last day of the workshop provided the participants with an opportunity to put into practice what they had learned. The exercise evaluation took the form of a simulated press conference, with NTWC and DMO representatives facing questions from the media and exercise observers.
The workshop was followed on 27th June by intersessional meetings of the IOTWS Working Group 2 on Tsunami Detection, Warning and Dissemination, Working Group 3 on Tsunami Awareness and Response and the Task Team for the IOWave14 Exercise.
Funding to support the participants' travel and subsistence was provided from IOC Special Account funds contributed by the Government of Australia, with funding for local hosting support provided by the Government of India.
The Assessment of Coastal Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk for the coast of Oman, undertaken by the Environmental Hidraulic Institute of the University of Cantabria (IHC) covers two different resolutions: 1) Overall risk assessment along all the coast of Oman. 2) Detailed risk assessment for 9 selected cities (Sohar, Wudam, Sawadi, Muscat, Quriyat, Sur, Masirah, Al Duqm, and Salalah).
The main goal is the development of the Multi Hazard Risk Assessment System (MHRAS) addressing TWO specific hazards: Tsunamis and Storm Surge. The MHRAS will provide:
1. The scenario database to feed the Multi Hazard Early Warning System that the Government of Oman is currently implementing supported by IOC-UNESCO for the protection of population and goods during an event.
2. Hazard, vulnerability and risk maps for tsunami and storm surge, as basic tools to develop a safe planning for land and coastal management; including an atlas of possible risk mitigation measures.
Apart of the MHRAS platform, the work done by IHC includes two more components, being the first of them the development of a set of seasonal and short term forecasting tools for the regular marine climate and the tropical cyclones. Technology transfer is another important component of the project. In order to train several members of the meteorological service of Oman in the numerical models and working methodologies developed by IHC the hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment, a set of workshop have been included as part of the project.
The US Virgin Islands has been designated as Tsunami Ready by the United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. "We have worked long and hard for this recognition and as a result of our efforts, the territory is better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of tsunamis through our extensive planning, education and public awareness. It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when," Governor de Jongh said at the recognition ceremony that was held during the Ninth session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS-IX).
The ICG/CARIBE-EWS-IX was held in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, from 13 to 15 May 2014, hosted by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA). The meeting was attended by 56 participants from 15 Caribbean countries and territories and 5 organizations: Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre [CTIC], Science Applications International Corporation [SACI], Puerto Rico Seismic Network [PRSN], UNAVCO, Inc., and the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre [SRC]).
TsunamiReady is granted by NOAA once certain requirements are met such as establishing an emergency operations center and a 24-hour warning point to receive tsunami information.
Countries represented at the conference included Barbados, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Sint Maarten, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela.
The gathering noted the achievements in 2013-2014 including the launching of the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC), established in Barbados; the successful CARIBE WAVE 2014, on March 26, 2014, with 47 of the 48 MS and territories participating and almost 200,000 people signing up for. It also noted the increased number of communities receiving the TsunamiReady recognition in the region.
Participants called for Member States contributions towards the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) to enable it to fully play its role as a key instrument for tsunami preparedness and awareness in the Caribbean region.
The Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation / Public Authority for Civil Aviation of Oman (DGMAN/PACA) in collaboration with IOC UNESCO held the second Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Workshop for Tsunami Early Warning Systems in Muscat, Oman, June 8-9 2014. The workshop was attended by 43 participants from different responsible government stakeholders involved in the National Multi-Hazards Early Warning System (NMHEWS) that Oman is developing. The workshop was officially opened by Mr.Abdul Rahim al Harmi, the Chairman of National Steering Committee of NMHEWS and Tsunami National Contact for the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS) IOTWS for the Sultanate of Oman.
In his opening speech, Dr.Juma al Maskari, Assistant Director-General for Meteorology of PACA and the chairman of the Technical Committee of NMHEWS, summarised the results of the first SOP workshop held in October 2013. He informed that the phase 1 development of the NMHEWS was in its final stages and that the system is expected to be inaugurated in March 2015, followed by an international symposium on tsunami science and the 10th Session of the ICG/IOTWS. The representatives of DGMAN presented the progress of the development of the NMHEWS; the Action Plan; and the status of SOP development. The Head of ICG/IOTWS Secretariat, Mr Tony Elliott, provided an overview of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) and the Regional Tsunami Service Provider (RTSP) products and services. He also gave a presentation on SOPs for Tsunami Warning Centres. The Head of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC), Mr Ardito Kodijat, gave a presentation on the services provided by IOTIC. On the second day of the workshop, Aridito Kodijat gave a presentation on Community Preparedness focusing on Evacuation Planning. The Principles of end-to-end Tsunami Early Warning and Tsunami Warning Decision Support Tools were presented by the IOC UNESCO Coordinator for the NMHEWS project, Dr Fauzi.
For the second part of Day 2 the participants were divided into 7 groups to conduct an exercise on developing SOPs for tsunami emergency response using timeline template tools. Each of the groups then presented the SOPs they had developed to the other groups.
At the closing of the workshop, the participants agreed to continue to work on their SOPs and prepare for their integration into the national goal of reducing the risk of tsunami disaster, especially considering the schedule for completion of the NMHEWS by the end of March 2015.
The Indonesian coast, between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, after the earthquake and the tsunami of 26 December 2004. Photo by Evan Schneider © UN Photo
UNESCO supports Member States in improving capabilities for tsunami risk assessment, implementing early warning systems and enhancing preparedness of communities at risk. UNESCO works closely with national institutions and promotes inter-institutional and regional cooperation. Specialized regional centers provide tsunami information that, together with national analysis, is the basis of the warnings issued for the public. In addition, UNESCO promotes community-based approaches in the development of response plans and awareness campaigns which strongly involve education institutions and end-users.