New Delhi: It has been observed that when people at tsunami risk receive accurate warnings in a timely manner, they can take life-saving actions, reduce losses and speed up response. Through the continuous effort of scientists and emergency management officers, there has been substantial improvement in tsunami warnings and timelines by deploying better sensors, accurate models and concurrent multiple modes of dissemination. However, the success of a warning is measured by what actions people take once the respective authorities issue a public warning. Surviving a tsunami depends on the ability of an individual in the hazard zone to recognize warning signals, make correct decisions, and act quickly.
Tsunami Ready is a community performance-based programme initiated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to promote tsunami preparedness through active collaboration of public, community leaders, and national and local emergency management agencies. The main objective of this programme is to improve coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies, to minimize the loss of life and property and to ensure a structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness through fulfilling the best-practice indicators set by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) of UNESCO-IOC. Fulfilment of the guidelines ensures communities have a strong end-to-end tsunami early warning and mitigation system with a particular focus on community awareness and preparedness to respond.
The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC), INCOIS is the nodal agency to provide tsunami advisories to India. INCOIS is also providing tsunami advisories to Indian Ocean region (25 countries) as a Tsunami Service Providers as the responsibility assigned by IOC-UNESCO. To create awareness and preparedness about the tsunamis, INCOIS regularly organizes Tsunami Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) workshops, training sessions and seminars for state and district level Disaster Management Officials (DMOs) of the coastal states. ITEWC at INCOIS also conducts IOWave Tsunami mock exercises biannually in coordination with ICG/IOTWMS and conducts at National level mock exercises alternative years in coordination with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and State Disaster Management Agencies (SDMA) to strengthen the readiness to handle the emergency situations with stakeholders. The recent tsunami mock exercises i.e. IOWave18 (September 2018) and Multi State mega mock exercise (November 2017) were great examples on building a tsunami resilient community. To strengthen communities further, ITEWC-INCOIS coordinating with the DMOs for implementation of Tsunami Ready programme in India.
To implement and monitor the implementation of Tsunami Ready and IOWave Exercises in India, Ministry of Earth Sciences established a National Board under the chairmanship of Director, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Centre (INCOIS) with members drawn from Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Andaman & Nicobar Islands Directorate of Disaster Management (DDM) and INCOIS.
The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Odisha has now implemented the Tsunami Ready programme in two villages viz., Venkatraipur in Ganjam District, Noliasahi in Jagatsingpur District. The National Board, after the verification of implementation of the indicators at those villages as per guidelines, decided to recognize them nationally and recommended to UNESCO-IOC for the recognition. Based on the National Board recommendations, UNESCO-IOC has approved the recognition of two communities viz., Venkatraipur and Noliasahi as Tsunami Ready Communities. With this recognition, India is the first country to implement Tsunami Ready in the Indian Ocean Region and Odisha is the first state.
To confer the UNESCO-IOC’s Certificate of Recognition and Certificate of Appreciation to Venkatraipur and Noliasahi communities, OSDMA Officials, a virtual event is organized jointly by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), ICG/IOTWMS Secretariat and Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Center (IOTIC) of UNESCO-IOC on 07 August 2020.
Chief Guest of the event Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India and Guest of Honor Shri. G.V.V. Sarma, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Govt. of India will present the Certificates of Recognition and Appreciation to the two villages and Officials of OSDMA.
UNESCO-IOC officials Dr. Srinivasa Kumar Tummala, Head-ICG/IOTWMS and Mr. Ardito M. Kodijat, Head-Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC), Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati Director, BMKG, Indonesia and Chair of ICG/IOTWMS will be present at the event. Shri. Pradeep Kumar Jena, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha and MD-OSDMA along with OSDMA and Venkatraipur and Noliasahi community’s officials will attend the event to receive the recognition and appreciation certificates. Dr. S.S.C. Shenoi, Vice-Chairperson, IOC-UNESCO, Former Director, INCOIS & Chairman of the National Board; Dr. T.M. Balakrishnan Nair, Director (I/C), INCOIS and Mr. E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, Head-TWG, INCOIS will also attend the event. The other participants of the event include officials from the MoES, members of the National Board (NDMA, MHA, OSDMA, A&N DDM, etc.), INCOIS Officials, etc.