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Tsunami Warning Management System Report

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Updated: Dec 24th, 2021

Tsunami refers to long oceanic waves that occur because of displacement of large amounts of water bodies. The displacement of water is due to underwater earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and other seismic events that cause disturbances either below or above the water surface causing the displacement. Tsunamis move at very high speeds almost 500 to 1000 kilometers per hour. This affects other areas that are very many kilometers away from where the tsunami occurred. They do not also loose speed, for instance when tsunamis occurred in South Asia at a certain speed, it occurred with the same speed fourteen hours later in East Africa. In addition, they have long wavelengths and can take long time before the second tsunami occurs after the first one. For example, this happened in South Asia where many people died in the second occurrence as they tried to help the survivors of the first tragedy.

Tsunami has high heights, which can be as high as thirty meters and people in the deep ocean do not feel them. This is the reason as to why the tsunami that occurred in Japan was not felt by anglers were not attacked by the tsunami that occurred in Japan. However, when they occur they cause great damage of properties and loss of lives.This is the reason as to why nations should be prepared on how to manage such kind of crisis. In this paper, I am going to examine the different tsunami emergency management systems both international and regional. In addition, I will give comments on how the government and individuals should best be prepared for the disaster.

Tsunami emergency management systems

Tsunamis are not common occurrence and not all earthquakes cause them. However, when they occur they are very serious and cause great damage. Therefore, it is very important for the government and individuals to know how to manage them. The government has developed many systems to help it as well as individuals manage them. Tsunami emergency management system detects and predicts tsunami in addition to warning individuals and government in good time before the onset of the disaster. These systems are discussed below.

Tsunami Warning System

This system detects by use of sensors and gives warning using communication infrastructure to prevent loss of life, economy and property. There are two main types of tsunami warning system. These are International Warning System (IWS) and Regional Warning System (RWS).I will start by discussing International Warning Systems (IWS).

International Warning Systems (IWS)

There are many IWS as discussed below involved in management of tsunami.

Pacific Ocean Tsunami Management System

This network consists of seismic monitoring stations and sea-level gauges that detect earthquakes and abnormal changes in sea level that can cause tsunami. After detecting a tsunami, they give warning to those living near the coastline along the predicted path of tsunami and its arrival time. The warning system advices people to leave the coastline immediately they get the warning and move to higher grounds that are ten meters above sea level or move inlands. Additionally, they are advised not to return to the coast until requested to do so by the warning agency either through radios, televisions or through other means. Those involved in finding out which areas are prone to tsunami are able to do so by assessing those areas along the coastlines long before the tsunami occurs. In 1949, after Aleutian Island earthquake that caused tsunami occurred in 1946 the system was established (West Coast Tsunami Warning Centre 7).

Australia Tsunami Warning System (ATWS)

After the occurrence of Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the system was established. Australia Bureau of Meteorology, Geosciences Australia and Emergency Management of Australia were involved in its establishment. They all aimed at providing timely tsunami warning system to all Australian population. The Government of Australia set aside some amount of money to upgrade the Alert System to ATWS that could give early warnings. The money contributed by the government was used to establish joint ATWS centre that could monitor and analyze capacity for the nations 24/7.In addition the money was used to upgrade networks around Australia that were concerned with monitoring sea-level and seismic.Moreover,tsumani education and training programmes were implemented nationwide.

The funds were also used in developing Pacific Tsunami warning system and in establishment of Indian Ocean Warning System in addition to providing technical assistance (Tad et al 3).

Australia tsunami warning system work was to keep the public in Australia and Territories informed about programmes and activities that related to tsunami. This was possible after the department carried out research to examine those areas that required improvement. The establishment of ATWS led to many positive impacts such as development of tsunami awareness brochures, delivery of in-service tsunami education system among others.

Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System

United Nation established it after the 2004 tsunami that occurred along Indian Ocean coastline and greatly affected countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The tsunami led to great destruction of buildings, infrastructure, trees, crops and loss of lives and other people went missing. This was because of not informing the people in good time as in the case of Pacific Ocean. This made the governments and scientists with the help of United Nation to set up mechanisms that could help them detect the tsunami early enough. The purpose of this warning system is to give tsunami warning to those along the coastline of Indian Ocean (Tad et al 7).

At first, the Seismic gauges detected the presence of earthquakes and other volcanic eruptions by monitoring the sea level. However, this was not reliable because not all earthquakes cause tsunami. As a result, pressure recorders and tide gauges were developed by scientists to help them find out if tsunami was triggered. However, another system that was very effective to use was the Deep-Ocean Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (Dart) that uses buoys and sensors located away from the sea. Here a pressure recorder that is on the seabed measures the weight of the water that is above it. The height of the wave determines the weight of the water. After detecting a tsunami, the pressure recorder sends the information to a buoy that monitors the surface’ conditions and send the information to a satellite which then t relay the data back to the receiving station (Athukorala and Budy 8). Dart system help the tsunami warning system overcome the challenge of conveying the information in good time and this makes it effective.

The UN members involved in monitoring the success of IOTWS have provided permanent methods of managing the emergency. This is by creating tsunami awareness in school, training broadcasters and people involved in making decisions about the crisis.UN has also availed the information available in local languages. Moreover, a group of UN Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System mapped the coastline. These maps showed which areas were likely to flood and which were appropriate to evacuate the people who lived along the coastline in case of emergency (Tad et al 8).

North Eastern, the Mediterranean and connected Oceans Tsunami Warning System

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission established the system in 2005 during its 23rd session. Just as other warning systems discussed above, this system was involved in detecting tsunami and warning those people who lived along the coastline in North Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and other connected seas.

Regional Warning Systems

These systems determine the likely occurrence of tsunami by using the seismic data of nearby earthquake. They are able to warn the public within a short period of time that can even be less than fifteen minutes. This may not be possible with International Warning Systems. With these systems, it is possible to calculate the arrival time of tsunami but it is hard to know whether displacement of water bodies have occurred to such an extent to cause tsunami. This can lead to false alarms but localization of these quick warnings reduces disruption. The people in coastal areas are usually warned after detecting abnormal seismic waves without confirming tsunami. This help to ensure that people evacuate and prepare for the occurrence of flooding in good time before tsunami occurs. Some examples of RWS are discussed below.

Urgent Local Tsunami

Pacific Tsunami Warning System warns Hawaii of tsunamis generated in coastal waters. It is issued without tsunami confirmation and is based on seismic and sea level data. Its aim is to alert people early enough on the potentiality of destructive local tsunami.

Japan tsunami warning system

Japan experiences many earthquakes and tsunamis and this has made it develop an extensive tsunami warning system in the pacific and beyond. Its Meteorological Agency involved in observation is located in Tokyo but there are other five regional observatories involved in giving tsunamis warnings. In the collection of data, the system uses satellites and cellular communications.

Japan uses many methods for notification such as Simultaneous Announcement Wireless System (SAWS) consisting of transmitters and receivers, national media, Sirens and bells Mobile Announcer System, telephone network and word of mouth among other (Geological Society of Australia 7).

Tsunami awareness are so effective in Japan to an extent that even people who were asleep and at risk have been found to evacuate within five minutes to safe grounds. It is important to note that after the management system detect and predict tsunami it is important to convey the warning to people.

Conveying of Warnings

The tsunami emergency warning system warns the people on areas that are prone to tsunami and the best places for evacuation. However, not even a single system will be able to protect against a sudden tsunami that occurs so soon after the earthquake. For example, a devastating tsunami occurred in Japan where many people lost their lives and injured others as tsunami occurred three to five minutes after the earthquake. Many people were running for their lives in higher grounds but tsunami caught them up. As a result many recommendations has been put forth to ensure public safety incase of emergency tsunami.

Recent Recommendations to ensure public safety during tsunami emergency

These recommendations show what individuals and government ought to do before tsunami occurs, during and after its occurrence. Firstly the government should develop a multi-language education system that inform people on the nature and dangers of tsunami, how to respond to changes in water levels and large earthquakes. In addition, inform people about the areas in coastal regions that are at risk of experiencing tsunami and the best routes where they can evacuate to incase of the tsunami warning. Secondly, enhance better tsunami warning and conveying of appropriate tsunami messages to avoid cases of unsuitable alarms. This is by improving the technology for detecting tsunami (Tsunami Protection Committee 34).Thirdly; inspect all roads, railways and airports near coastlines to ensure safety during tsunami emergency.

The government should also provide sufficient funds to improve communication emergency agency and work with other states at the coast to ensure they get information from all over the world. Moreover, use land at the coastline well to ensure it is highly resistant to tsunami. Additionally, provide tsunami materials to the visitors at the coastal area and put signs on the coast showing evacuation areas (State of California Seismic Safety Protection 1).

It is also important for the government department involved in tsunami emergency management to collect information concerning regional damage that has occurred after tsunami. This allows investigation to be done and know how to deal with such kind of disaster in future. Lastly, it is important to ensure that people are well prepared. Next, I am going to comment on how the government and people can best be prepared for the tsunami emergency (Mitchell J 10).

Preparedness of the Government and people for tsunami emergency

As discussed above, it is very clear that living along the coastline has many risks and therefore one ought to be careful and well informed about the dangers to expect. To best prepare individuals inform them that incase of tsunami warnings they should move inland or to higher grounds in an orderly and safe manner. In addition, make them aware of the signs of a potential tsunami. For example, shaking grounds that knock you and d other objects down or unnatural behavior of water suddenly. In this case, one should not wait for warning, as there may not be enough time for warning systems to inform people.

It is also important for one to share information about tsunami with one’s family members and friends. In addition, one should protect his family and property by ensuring that one knows where they can evacuate to incase of tsunami and which means to use to get there. One should also have emergency kit in place. Moreover, one should be aware of the tsunami warning system used locally and quickly respond to the warning. If the individual is working along the coastline, they should seek to know areas that are prone to tsunami and where to evacuate to incase of tsunami warning or watch (Telford et al 6).The people who might be in school incase of tsunami warning or watch should follow instructions given by their teachers. Those along the beaches should not stay near the rivers that are likely to source their waters from tsunami.

The government can best be prepared for tsunami emergency by setting up agencies that give tsunami warning to the public. Apart from setting up these agencies, the government should continually fund them to enhance improvement especially on conveying the message to the public.Additionaly; the government should have evacuation plans always in place for all areas prone to tsunami. In case of Evacuation plans, Evacuation route signs to be posted in these areas either on the streets, beaches among others(Robert 105-124).The government should also develop education programmes to inform all people on dangers of tsunami and what to do incase it occurs. Either this can be through the media or published tsunami materials that are distributed to all people especially those living in tsunami prone areas. In addition, the government should develop evacuation shelters to host and feed displaced people during tsunami warning or after tsunami has occurred (Houghton 13).Every government should budget for tsunami emergency management and work with other international emergency agencies to ensure they get tsunami warnings. Lastly, the government should have maps showing areas prone to tsunami and best areas for evacuation (State of California Seismic Safety Commission 15).


From the discussion above tsunami are long oceanic waves that occur because of large displacement of water bodies caused by earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions. They do not occur often but when they occur they causes great loss of economy, lives and properties. This has called for different emergency management systems to be developed. These systems are of two types that is International and Regional and their work is to predict tsunami and give warning to the public. However, these systems cannot protect against a tsunami that occurs suddenly and that is why preparedness for the emergency is important for both the government and individuals. For example, the individual should be aware of local warning systems and areas they can evacuate to incase of emergency. On the other hand, the government should develop education programmes to inform people on dangers of tsunami and what they should do incase of emergency. This being a natural and international disaster, it is very important for nations to work together in its management. For instance, rich nations and NGOS should give donations to poor nations to ensure they are also able to manage the disaster.

Works Cited

  1. Athukorala, Chandra and Budy, Resosudarmo.The Indian Ocean tsunami: economic Impact, disaster Management and lessons. Canberra: Australian National University, 2005.Print.
  2. Geological Society of Australia. Causes of tsunami. 2009.
  3. Houghton, Rachel. Tsunami Emergency Lessons from Previous Natural Disaster. Australia: Australia Development Gateway, 2005.Print.
  4. Mitchell, Julian.Learning from the past: a look back at evaluation and reviews of disaster Preparedness programmes. London: IFRC, 1999.Print.
  5. Robert, John. The Indian Ocean Tsunami:” how can the region recover economically?The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004: observations in Sri Lanka and Thailand.” Natural Hazards, 42.1(2007):105-124.
  6. State of California Seismic Safety Commission.The Tsunami Threat of California: Findings and recommendations of tsunami hazards and risks. SCS, 2005. Print.
  7. Tad, Murty, Aswathanaraya, Uppugunuri and Niru,Nirupama).The Indian Ocean Tsunami. New York: Taylor &Francis, 2006.Print.
  8. Telford, John et al. Learning lessons from disaster recovery: The case of Honduras, 2004. Print.
  9. Tsunami Protection Committee.Recommendations of the Tsunami Protection Committee. Tsunami Protection Committee, 2005.Print.
  10. US. West Coast Tsunami Warning Centre. Strategic Implementation Plan for Tsunami Mitigation Projects, NOAA Technical Memorandum, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Dept. of Commerce, 2004.Print.
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