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Sirens will sound for Pacific tsunami drill

Thursday February 16, 2017 Written by Published in Weather
National Tsunami Warning Centre director Arona Ngari. The Cook Islands will take part in a Pacifi cwide tsunami drill to be held tomorrow. 17021503 National Tsunami Warning Centre director Arona Ngari. The Cook Islands will take part in a Pacifi cwide tsunami drill to be held tomorrow. 17021503

The Cook Islands will join over 40 other countries around the Pacific Rim as a participant in a mock tsunami scenario tomorrow. 

The purpose of this Pacific-wide exercise is to exercise country tsunami decision-making procedures and communication systems and processes.

It will also provide an opportunity for those countries that receive products from the Northwest Pacific Tsunami Advisory Center (NWPTAC) in Japan to assess new experimental enhanced forecast products, including tsunami wave forecasts that enable each country to better assess its own tsunami threat.

“The recent events of the 2009 Samoa Islands, 2010 Chile, 2011 Japan, and the February 2013 Solomon Islands tsunamis have increased our need to be more prepared for such events,” the National Tsunami Warning Center director Arona Ngari said.

“This important exercise will validate the enhanced products for future official use by countries of the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.”

The exercise, titled Exercise Pacific Wave 2017 (PacWave17), will simulate Pacific countries being put into a tsunami warning situation requiring government decision-making. 

It is the seventh such exercise with the first one held in May, 2006, and subsequent exercises held in October, 2008, November, 2011, May, 2013, February, 2015 and February, 2016. 

Participating countries will select from six different Pacific scenarios and conduct a tabletop exercise within the second week of February. 

Destructive Pacific-wide tsunamis will be simulated through tsunami information messages from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and Japan’s NWPTAC, and then reviewed by focal points designated by each country that are responsible for their country’s tsunami response. 

Cook Islands Tsunami Warning Center will be holding this exercise tomorrow morning in collaboration with Emergency Management Cook Islands (EMCI). 

EMCI will be testing their sirens today as well as tomorrow in preparation for this exercise.

All warnings for the exercise will be preceded with the words “Exercise Exercise Exercise” and will be put on radio as well as via e-mails and other means of communication. 

The public and the private sectors are expected to put into practice their respective Standard Operating Procedures for tsunamis in response to the messages that will be distributed on the day. 

For more information, contact the Met Office on 20603 or 25920 or EMCI on 29609.

Meanwhile the exercise is sponsored by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission through its Intergovernmental Coordination Group of the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS) and the Building Safety & Resilience in the Pacific Project (BSRP).