20 Feb 2009

South Pacific needs own tsunami warning centre - disaster official

2:08 pm on 20 February 2009

A Pacific Ocean tsunami warning and mitigation system meeting this week has called for the establishment of a local warning centre in the south Pacific.

The meeting in Samoa included representatives from Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Samoa's principal disaster management officer, Filomena Nelson, says at the moment countries rely on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii to raise an alarm.

"There is a need to establish a sub-regional early warning system for the Pacific because it takes more than 5 minutes for tsnami information bulletins to be generated to the national warning centre [and] it takes between five and ten minutes before tsunami waves make impact."

Filomena Nelson of Samoa's disaster management office.