February 17, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
The United States and Japan will provide tsunami warnings to countries in the Indian Ocean region beginning as early as mid-March 2005. The warning system will stay in place until the Indian Ocean countries complete their tsunami warning system, which
should occur by mid-2006.
The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, based in Hawaii, and Japanís Meteorological Agency will analyze earthquakes and issue tsunami warnings as needed; the organizations will issue alerts immediately and separately to ensure that there is no lag time or miscommunication.
The U.S. has headed an effective tsunami warning system for Pacific rim countries for decades. And tsunami-prone Japan has developed a sophisticated tsunami warning system that includes fiber-optic sensors that can detect seismic activity.
Tens of thousands of lives would have been saved if the Indian Ocean nations had a tsunami warning system in place before the Asian tsunami struck.
To date, the number of confirmed and assumed Asian tsunami deaths is almost 300,000.