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  • Australia: Minister praises the value of early warning systems at United Nations General Assembly debate on disaster risk reduction

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Australia: Minister praises the value of early warning systems at United Nations General Assembly debate on disaster risk reduction

Source(s):  Australia - government

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr today said the value of investing in regional Tsunami early warning systems was confirmed following this week's earthquakes off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Senator Carr said Australia's regional neighbours received an Indian Ocean wide tsunami warning just seven minutes after the 8.5 magnitude earthquake occurred at 6:38pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday 11 April.

"Early warning systems are critical to saving lives and to reducing the risks and costs of natural disasters caused by tsunamis.

"Our region gets more than its share of natural disasters and early warning systems are now agreed as essential to limiting their impacts."

Senator Carr was speaking at a United Nations General Assembly debate on Disaster Risk Reduction where he praised the partnership between Australia and Indonesia in managing the risk of disasters in the region.

"It was a great relief to all Australians and our regional neighbours when the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre issued a nil tsunami threat for Australia within 24 minutes of the earthquake.

"I am advised by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, which is operated by Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology that all warnings issued as part of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System were delivered within normal operational timeframes.

"Following the devastating tsunamis in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and in Japan last year, the international community has become acutely aware of the value of investing in disaster risk reduction.

"Australia is a strong supporter of international efforts to reduce the risk that natural disasters pose in developing nations – particularly countries in our region.

"In May 2005, following the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Australian Government committed $69.8 million over four years (2005-09), to the Australian Tsunami Warning System initiative.

"This initiative:

Provides a comprehensive tsunami warning system for Australia
Supports establishment of an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system
Helps facilitate a tsunami warning system for the South West Pacific

"Through the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction, the Australian aid program has provided support to Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) and Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMMKG) to assist in quickly estimating the impact of earthquakes.

"In eastern Indonesia, Australia is also supporting a program with funding of $1 million to assist communities to identify priorities for disaster risk reduction through mapping the parts of their community that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters using a free 'wiki-map'.

"And in the Pacific, Australia has upgraded equipment at monitoring stations in 12 countries to strengthen tsunami warning capacity and measure sea level changes," Senator Carr said.

Media enquiries
Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

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  • Publication date 13 Apr 2012

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