Full scale test of Tsunami alert system on Oct 12

London: Almost seven years after the devastating tsunami of 2004, over 20 nations, including India, will participate in a full-scale exercise to test the operational capacity of the Indian Ocean tsunami alert system on October 12, UNESCO announced today.

Exercise `IOWAVE 11` will re-enact the seismic events of December 26, 2004, simulating a 9.2-magnitude quake that occurs northwest coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, sending waves across the Indian Ocean that strike the coast of South Africa 12 hours later. The re-enactment of the seismic events will test the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS), the UN`s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) said in a press release.

Bulletins will be issued by the new Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSPs) in Australia, India and Indonesia, it said. This exercise, organised under the auspices of UNESCO`s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, will also see responsibility for the issue of advisories handed over to the countries of the region through a new regional tsunami advisory service.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will mark the transition of responsibility for the tsunami warning system with a video address to the authorities of the three countries on October 12. The exercise aims to evaluate the system`s operational capacity, the efficiency of communications among the different actors, and the state of preparation of national emergency services. The test will also include the evacuation of coastal communities in several countries, notably India and Malaysia.