The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports that an elaborate and sophisticated
(TEWS) that should have sounded evacuation sirens in Padang, West Sumatra when a 7.8 earthquake struck off the coast on Wednesday evening, March 2, 2016, failed to operate.
Residents in North Padang living near the seashore said they heard no tsunami siren as they ran to higher ground.
The failure of the TEWS to operate is due to broken detection buoys and malfunctioning siren towers.
The head of the Data and Public Relations for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, confirmed that all theTEWS buoys owned by Indonesia are non-functioning, despite the floating buoys key role in detecting tsunami threats.
In a concerning admission, Nugroho said: “Among all the buoys for the early detection of tsunamis installed across Indonesian seas there is not a single one that is functioning. There are five buoys owned by neighboring countries, but these are located in areas far removed from areas in Indonesia considered most under threat of a tsunami.”
Sutopo continued, saying the broken TEWS buoys located in Indonesian waters are gravely affecting the Nation’s ability to respond in a timely manner to the threat of tsunamis.
“The broken buoys are certainly affecting the accuracy and speed of the early detection of a tsunami. With the buoys (in operation) we can accurately and quickly know those areas under threat of tsunami destruction. In this way the handling of a disaster can become more focused,” Nugroho explained.
Indonesia deployed 22 TEWS buoys nationwide following the destructive tsunami of December 26, 2004 that left 230,000 dead in 14 countries.
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