13.08.2018 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Chile hosts tsunami early warning experts from the Caribbean, Pacific and Europe in first-ever joint training programme

Participants in the training in Valparaiso, Chile (1-10 August 2018).

Experts from the Caribbean, Pacific and European tsunami early warning networks gathered in Valparaiso, Chile, for a ten-day training (1-10 August 2018) focused on improving operating procedures for tsunami warning and emergency response.

It was the first time that the training assembled experts from multiple ocean basins, a move that organizers hope will spark renewed scientific dialogue and exchange over best practices across national and regional experiences with tsunami early warning.

The two-week training had a dual-focus: the first week focused on earthquake seismology and tsunami hazard assessment for planning and warning decision-making. The second week then focused on the tsunami warning and emergency response chain – from tsunami warning centers all the way to the public – stressing the importance of implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for enabling authorities to respond to tsunamis consistently and rapidly. The training used Chile’s national tsunami early warning system (SNAM) as a working example, recognizing also its steady improvement in recent years.

Training activities included warning decision-making, use of decision-support tools, evacuation planning, public awareness, drills, as well as a field trip to understand tsunami deposits and a world-class tsunami resistant port facilities. Participants also visited Chilean agencies involved in emergency response.

“We placed much emphasis on building community preparedness, especially for local tsunamis, through Tsunami Ready programs,” added Bernardo Aliaga, Tsunami Early Warning Specialist at UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and one of the training co-organizers. IOC’s Tsunami Ready Program recognizes communities and countries that meet international requirements of preparedness and response to these natural disasters.

The Chile training is the latest in the long-running Training Program on Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation Systems, organized since 1974 by the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. The ITIC is hosted by the United States’ National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Chilean Navy’s Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOA).

In the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed nearly 230,000 lives in fourteen countries, the IOC-ITIC Training Program helped prepare national agencies participating in regional tsunami early warning systems to pre-plan and develop protocols to warn quickly and evacuate the public as early and orderly as possible. More than 120 trainings have been conducted since 2005, reaching more than 3,000 national officials globally.

For more information, please contact:

Bernardo Aliaga (b.aliaga(at)unesco.org)




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