» Indian Ocean Tsunami: Achievements and challenges ten years on
12.11.2014 - UNESCOPRESS

Indian Ocean Tsunami: Achievements and challenges ten years on

© Evan Schneider/ UN PhotoSri Lanka after the tsunami in December 2004

Ten years after the devastating 2004 tsunami hit the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) are organizing an international conference to take stock of the achievements and remaining challenges facing the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System. The conference will be held in Jakarta (Indonesia) on 24 and 25 November.

Is the Indian Ocean Rim safer than it was in 2004? What progress has been made in terms of alerts? What are the issues that still need to be tackled? Over the course of two days, experts, representatives of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System member states, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as donor countries will review the achievements of the past decade. The international conference will also provide inputs for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled to be held in Sendai, Japan, from 14 to 18 March 2015.

On 26 December 2004, the Tsunami claimed more than 230,000 lives. It resulted in the displacement of over 1.6 million people, and caused economic damages estimated at $14 billion. Following the disaster, the IOC was charged with the development and implementation of an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System. An Intergovernmental Coordination Group was established in 2005. After eight years of international cooperation under the auspices of the IOC, the Tsunami Warning System became operational in March 2013 when the Regional Tsunami Service Providers established by Australia, India and Indonesia assumed responsibility for the issuing of tsunami advisories to the countries of the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System is one of four such systems coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. The first was set up in the Pacific in 1965 in response to the deadly tsunami that struck the coasts of Chile and Japan in 1960. The purpose of these systems is to assess risks, issue warnings and educate populations at risk.

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Media contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service: +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 64,

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