The National Disaster Warning centre (NDWC) Thailand, has defended its decision not to issue an early tsunami alert after the 8.4-magnitude earthquake off the west coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island on Wednesday evening. Instead, the NDWC made a broadcast three hours later telling people there was no cause for alarm. Centre chairman Smith Dharmasarojana said yesterday the delay was based on a thorough analysis of the situation.
The NDWC decided against a sudden TV broadcast to warn people about a possible tsunami because it predicted the quake, which struck about 6.10pm, would not cause giant waves in Thailand. The NDWC’s broadcast three hours after the first quake was mainly aimed at calming people down.
He said the centre followed warning procedures correctly, including sending 2,800 short messages via mobile phones to the prime minister and officials in provinces where a tsunami could hit.
He said the NDWC was alert to earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean around the clock, and would tell people to evacuate if their province was at risk. However, too many warnings would only panic people and have a bad impact on tourism.
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