12 Feb 2009

Pacific countries take part in tsunami and earthquake meeting

3:40 pm on 12 February 2009

Pacific countries are taking part in a meeting in Samoa this week to improve tsunami and earthquake monitoring and warning response.

The meeting has been organised by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation as a result of the tsunami which killed thousands in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

The event highlighted the need to improve warning systems.

The Director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, Dr Charles McGreevey, who was in Pago Pago, says a tsunami can hit American Samoa far before locals are alerted.

"It might take no more than 15 to 20 minutes for a tsunami to arrive if it was generated in Samoa and that's probably too short of a time for most people here to get an official warning about anything. Now the positive part is that you should have a natural warning in the sense that any earthquakes big enough to produce a damaging tsunami will also probably give you a very strong shake here as well."

Dr Charles Mc Greevey of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.