Saturday, May 20, 2006


Pacific tsunami warning test reveals glitches in Malaysia & Thailand

The last time there was one fax number in Malaysia that didn't receive the information, but that place received the information another way as well, so there was no big problem," said Osamu Kamigaichi, the agency's senior tsunami expert, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, which coordinated the test.

Two test exercises were carried out recently to test how rapidly they were able to relay the warnings to local alert systems.

At the start of the FIRST TEST, a beeping sound filled the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, signaling a mock magnitude 9.2 earthquake off the coast of Chile. Within 10 minutes, warnings clearly labeled as part of the exercise went out from the Hawaii facility, as well as the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center near Anchorage.
Bulletins were issued for two hours - or eight hours of compressed exercise time - until the tsunami was simulated to have crossed into the central Pacific and across most of the South China Sea.
Glitches included an overloaded telephone network in Thailand that prevented Thai officials from issuing a public alert by text messaging.
"We had some difficulties with telecommunication links, so the SMS messages were delayed by five minutes or more," said Smith, speaking from Prachuab Khiri Khan province on the Gulf of Thailand.

The test warnings were also sent by fax to hotels and broadcast on television.
All other locations received the test message without problems.

The SECOND TEST was simulated to be generated by a magnitude 8.8 earthquake north of the Philippines at 20�N, 120�E on May 17 at 0200 UTC.
Earlier Reuters reports from Malaysia indicated all was well but later it was discovered that one fax machined failed to function. But with other ICT facilities intact, the message got through by way of email.

All thirty countries involved are studying their respective reactions to the warning to examine how efficient they are in responding to the potential tsunamis. The drill is being co-coordinated by the Hawaii Tsunami Warning Centre who has so far judged the exercise to be largely successful with Centre director Charles McCreery highlighting the levels of cooperation between so many countries.
More details from
and glitches and
Thai tsunami drill a minor disaster


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