16 May 2006

Pacific about to see how ready it is for a devastating tsunami

8:34 pm on 16 May 2006

The Australian based inter-government coordination group for the Pacific Warning System, says emergency contact centres and emergency agencies have to work symbiotically.

This comes as the Hawaii based Pacific Tsunami Centre tomorrow will tomorrow simulate earthquakes in Chile and Taiwan and send out fake tsunami warnings to countries participating in a preparedness test.

The Hawaiian based organisation says it wants to test its own services, and the ability of countries in the region to respond to a real emergency situation.

But the Australian coordination group chair, Mark Sullivan, says contact centres have to work closely with other agencies responsible for informing and looking after the public.

"Quantitative scientific analysis and technologies are used to ascertain the risk, but then there is a social science element, which is the community awareness, and education and training element. Those two aspects need to work very closely with each other. And in fact, in the absence of one, the other doesn't work."

Mr Sullivan says the Hawaii based Oceanographic Commission offers training in emergency procedures to help countries improve their ability to respond.e to a disaster.