USAID announces launch of Tsunami Warning System Program

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 10:00 GMT]
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the launch of the United States governmentís Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS), a two-year, USD 16.6 million effort program that will contribute to the development of integrated early warning and mitigation systems that allow countries in the Indian Ocean region to detect and prepare for tsunamis and related coastal hazards, according to a press release issued by the United States Embassy in Colombo on Tuesday.

The program involves a number of key U.S. agencies, each contributing specialized expertise, including technical support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

USAIDís Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok will lead the U.S. effort, the press release noted.

The U.S. program involves close collaboration with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The IOC has the lead responsibility for developing the Indian Oceanís regional warning capabilities.

At the national and local levels, U.S. technical assistance will primarily support efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Maldives Ė the countries most severely affected by the December 2004 disaster where over 220,000 people perished, the press release added.


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