Germany, RI Maintain Cooperation in Tsunami Anticipation

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Germany will continue strengthening its partnership with natural-disaster prone Indonesia by further developing a tsunami early warning system in the country, Transportation Minister EE Mangindaan said on Wednesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, talks with staff at the tsunami early warning center of Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency in Jakarta, on Wednesday (Pictured by AP/Tatan Syuflana)

He said that the Indonesia Early Warning System (InaTEWS), partly supported by the German government, had played a key role in protecting coastal communities in Indonesia.

“Support and assistance provided by the German government and others have become the core of the InaTEWS system which is proven to be effective in delivering early tsunami warnings in the country,” he said in his welcoming remarks during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) headquarters on Wednesday.

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China, Japan, and the United States are among other countries also involved in the development of InaTEWS.

Indonesia started to develop the InaTEWS shortly after a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Sumatra followed by a massive tsunami that devastated Aceh in December 2004.

More than 50 percent of the Indonesian coastline is prone to tsunami, tsunami modeling developed by the BMKG shows. Data further reveals that tsunamis occurred once in every two years during the period of 1992 to 2010.

The InaTEWS is beneficial not only for coastal communities in Indonesia but also in other countries on the rim of the Indian Ocean as it serves as one of the regional tsunami service providers (RTSP) for the ocean together with Australia and India.

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BMKG head Sri Woro B Hadijono said that by using InaTEWS, her agency could obtain real-time reports on earthquakes occurring in the Indian Ocean and its surrounding areas. The agency, she said, needed to quickly warn people in coastal areas on the possible dangers caused by tsunamis.

“With the new system, we can now get real-time data on the earthquakes, including the level of the ground shaking, within only 5 minutes while in the past we used to get that kind of information up to 30 minutes after the incident occurred,” she told journalists.

Mangindaan said both countries would continue to expand the partnership, particularly in the field of human-resource development.

“We need to ensure that both operational and maintenance activities of InaTEWS are well-sustained not only through formal education but also training,” he said.

Further partnerships for research and development on earthquakes and tsunamis would increase the capacity of Indonesian scientists in dealing with the risks from natural disasters, he added(Elly Burhaini Faizal, The Jakarta Post).

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