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Nations Seeking Better Cooperation on Tsunami Alerts

Banda Aceh, TAG. Representatives of 19 countries, mostly on the rim of the Indian Ocean, on Wednesday kicked of a three-day conference here to discuss ways to integrate their respective tsunami early-warning systems.
A total of 150 participants from 19 of the 28 member states in the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System are attending the conference. 


“Learning from the 2004 tsunami, we understand the importance of early warning systems in reducing the impact of such a disaster on society in the future,” Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono said when opening the forum. 


Agung expressed hopes that the conference would come up with ways to build a better early warning system and an effective tsunami mitigation mechanism for the region. 


“One of the reasons for us to be here is to discuss the building and enhancement of an early-warning system for the Indian Ocean so that it can become more comprehensive and integrate all countries in the region,” Agung said. 


He said Indonesia, whose province of Aceh suffered the brunt of the 2004 tsunami with about 170,000 people killed and widespread destruction, already had a warning system that could alert people of the possibility of a tsunami five minutes after an earthquake that could trigger the huge wave took place. 


It is hoped that the conference, the seventh, will result in better exchange of information among countries on the Indian Ocean rim, he said. 


All countries in the region, he said, were still learning how to minimize the impact of tsunamis and the earthquakes that trigger them. 


Agung said investment in disaster risk mitigation could prevent damage worth seven to 20 times the initial expenditure, but he did not elaborate. 


“Awareness and readiness will be able to reduce the impact of a disaster and help accelerate the recovery process,” he said. 

In his opening speech, Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf,said the 2004 tsunami had made everyone in the region realize the potential for disaster. 


“We hope that the handling of the tsunami in Aceh as well as the post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction process can become a model not only for the government of Indonesia but also the international community on how to handle disasters,” Irwandi said. 


He said the massive rebuilding effort after the tsunami led the province to launch a plan for a “Green Aceh.” 


“The Green Aceh vision that I initiated is one of the efforts to reduce the risks of human-caused disasters. [We are] reducing the risks of natural disasters through a sustainable economic development concept and a green investment strategy for Aceh,” the governor said.[]
Nations Seeking Better Cooperation on Tsunami Alerts Nations Seeking Better Cooperation on Tsunami Alerts Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on April 15, 2010 Rating: 5

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