New Delhi, India, 26 December 2006 – India’s Union Science and Technology Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal on December 26 said preparations for establishing a world class national early warning system for tsunami were progressing well and that it would be ready in September 2007.
Presenting a progress report on the project on the occasion of the second anniversary of the December 26, 2004 tsunami, Mr. Sibal told a Press conference that high-resolution topography of the coastal belt and bathymetry of shallow water had been initiated. The National Remote Sensing Agency was preparing topographic maps for an area of 15,000 sq. km (7,500 line km and two km inland from the coastline) and so far acquired data for 3,300 sq. km.
He further highlighted that work such as strengthening the seismic network, deployment of bottom pressure recorders to monitor propagation of sea waves and subsequent sea level changes and establishment of a network of tide gauges was proceeding on an even keel.
So far, one bottom pressure recorder had been deployed and by July end, the remaining 11 recorders would be in place. Likewise, 17 tide gauges out of the 50 planned had been installed along the coastline, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and work was on to strengthen a network of 17 seismic stations.
Scientists were also working on generating 50,000 different scenarios on possible travel times, taking into account possible variations in terms of magnitude, location and depth of earthquakes.
In addition, an end-to-end communication plan had been worked out in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation to ensure communication of real time data from seismic stations, tide gauges and bottom pressure recorders to the warning centre.
The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services at Hyderabad, where the warning centre is coming up, had set up reliable connectivity facilities to the Union Home Ministry. Mr. Sibal said it would be possible to provide a credible warning in 20 minutes, including potential vulnerable areas and extent of expected inundation.
Already, an interim warning system was functional round-the-clock with the help from the India Meteorological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.
The system was being configured to cover the western and eastern flank of the country considering that there are two tsunamigenic zones in its vicinity — the Andaman-Sumatra trench in the east and the Makran coast in south Pakistan in the west.