Solomons welcomes Pacific tsunami warning system drill
Disaster management officials in Solomon Islands are welcoming the opportunity to test new tsunami warning products as part of a region-wide drill called PacWave 13.
Disaster management officials in Solomon Islands are welcoming the opportunity to test new tsunami-warning products on May 10 as part of a region-wide drill called PacWave 13.
The two-week exercise, which is run every couple of years and finishes on the 14th, will trial new products from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, including text-message wave forecasts.
Several devastating tsunamis have hit the Solomon Islands over the past decade, the most recent in Temotu Province in February.
The chief operations officer at the National Disaster Management Office, George Baragamu, told Annell Husband the products are similar to some the country is already using but PacWave 13 is still a good opportunity.
BARAGUMU: Some of the old products in the past, what you normally get is text information for tsunami warnings. In the new products, you will also get a text message which is more fine-tuned to the needs of most member states, as well as also coming along with that, graphics or maps that have graphics on the wave amplitudes and all these things that are using graphics to analyse the tsunami waves.
HUSBAND: And how many people does it involve? It's an operational thing, it's not going to be going into the community, is it? It's not going to involve the community.
BARAGUMU: For PacWave 13, it was recommended that we only conduct tabletop exercises, which means basically just discussion exercises. And for us it will be only with the Met Service, the National Disaster Management Office and then the seismology and hydrology and geology department within the ministry.
HUSBAND: With what happened in Temotu province, the notice that you guys got of the tsunami was good, but then it's actually getting it through to the people that is more difficult, isn't it?
BARAGUMU: Yes, that's right. Because we're not only relying on one way of dishing out or disseminating the information. But in terms of disseminating the information, the message did reach some of the communities. But in terms of reaching all the people in the community, that yet needs to be answered. But we have done our part. We are trying to improve on making sure that the information that we decimate has actually reached the last person that it needs to reach. But we have done a 'lessons learned' exercise on the whole Santa Cruz disaster. And one component of it is on the early warning arrangement for the Solomon Islands, in terms of tsunami. So we have had good feedback from the community, and there were many recommendations that were put in by all 17 wards of Santa Cruz, in terms of helping us improve the early warning arrangements.
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