Straight talk from the head of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center. This is even more reason for Sri Lanka to improve its national and last-mile warning systems.
Because of its location, the lone tsunami direct detection buoy deployed last month in the middle of the Indian Ocean would offer little advance warning to Phuket in the event of another tsunami generated off the Indonesian Coast, Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, head of the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) in Nonthaburi, has told the Gazette.Dr Smith said that the location of the first buoy was chosen so that it would provide equal benefit to all Indian Ocean Rim countries, not just Thailand. “I made the suggestion that we put the first buoy there so that we wouldn’t appear selfish by putting our own data needs before that of other countries in the region,” he said.
However, Dr Smith said that the location of the first buoy, halfway between Thailand and Sri Lanka and about 1,000 kilometers from Phuket, would give little advance warning to Phuket in the event of another tsunami generated along the fault zone that runs along Indonesia’s west coast.
The buoy is located about the same distance to the west of the fault line as Phuket is to its east. As a result, by the time a west-moving wave were detected by the buoy, its east traveling counterpart would already be inundating Thailand’s Andaman Coast.