Earthquake and tsunami research project for disaster prevention

Following section will explain the role of media on tsunami disaster prevention in Sri Lanka. The Role of Media on Tsunami Disaster Prevention Media can play a significant role in creating awareness about disasters among common masses and thus reduce disaster risks. During disaster situations, media should not only inform the public with timely and factual information but also to advice the public about actions to be taken e.

During an emergency, the media should be sensitive to the needs of the public in affected areas and should avoid misinforming and broadcasting unconfirmed reports that may lead to despair and panic. Reliable and timely information provided through the media can help people overcome unnecessary fear and fatalism during and after an emergency. For the media to fill these roles most effectively, the government, the scientific and disaster mitigation organizations need to establish and strengthen working relationships with the media.

Media plays a prominent role in Sri Lanka, covering the entire island through television and FM radios with more than 50 channels. Prior to the tsunami in there was no such network or emergency broadcasting centers in Sri Lanka.


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However, after the tsunami the Sri Lankan government has established an Emergency Operation Centre EOC and introduced various early warning systems in the country. According to a media spokesperson in Sri Lanka, the role of domestic media was very limited during the tsunami in Most of the tsunami related videos were documented and telecasted by the foreign media when compared to local media in Sri Lanka. The lack of awareness and preparedness were identified as the causes for these situations. He further added that the media can be divided into two categories: electronic media and social media.

Electronic media is a media that use electronics or electro-mechanical energy for the end-user audience to access the content where as social media refers to the interaction of people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among them in virtual communities and networks.

In the case of Sri Lanka, both media electronic and social have improved a lot in the post tsunami period after This will be explained in detail at section 3. It receives, analyzes, and display information about the incident to enable decision-making. The EOC also finds, prioritize, deploy, and track critical resources. It enhances decision-making, communication, collaboration, and coordination.

The EOC has all necessary equipment with conference facilities and display systems. Public can call on hot line numbers to inform emergencies. There are several phone numbers that are available for the public to contact the EOC. Disaster Management Centre DMC is the main focal point responsible for coordinating early warning messages, along with the relevant technical agencies and technical committees. The multi-hazard early warning dissemination division of the DMC will be in constant coordination with all technical agencies responsible for natural and man-made hazards, and in instances of any imminent disaster it will take action to inform the responsible officers for onward communication to the sub-national levels and communities.

The followings are some of the key responsibilities of EOC: 1 Maintaining and operating early warning towers and other early warning dissemination equipments, 2 Dissemination of early warning messages and ensure the reception at remote vulnerable villagers, 3 Co-ordination of donor assistance to strengthen capacity of technical agencies for early warning, 4 Initiating awareness on activities related to early warning among the various agencies and public, and 5 Guiding district disaster management units in coordinating and implementing warning dissemination-related activities in the province, district, and local authority levels.


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  • Different government institutions are mandated to monitor and issue early warnings in the case of different hazards. Department of Meteorology was designated as the tsunami early warning centre for Sri Lanka. The following table-2 shows how the early warning message passes to the Meteorology department from various authorities and departments within a few minutes in Sri Lanka. The above table shows that within 30 minutes the early warning can be reached to the Meteorology department in Sri Lanka.

    The first two early-warning buoys were deployed in the coastal waters of Sumatra in mid-November The seven-meter buoys are connected to pressure sensors on the seabed and will send information to a central station on the Indonesian mainland by satellite. Scientists will analyze the data and decide whether to raise an alarm or not.

    According to the Tsunami Prevention Act No. The process of early warnings goes from national level, provincial level, district level, and village levels. At the provincial level there are some regional radio centers, telephone operators, disaster management coordinators, police and military communicators that are responsible for passing the message to the people. At the village level, telephone calls, early warning subcommittee, police vehicles, NGOs and CBO workers, temple and church bells, push bicycle and motorcycle messengers are responsible to inform the people. The following table shows some TV and radio channels, news alert, and news websites that provide early warnings to the people in Sri Lanka.

    The Role of Broadcasters Broadcasters can play a key role on disaster prevention.

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    It is reported that broadcasters should educate people about the natural disasters and calm them down after a natural disaster strikes, as well as prevent panic and the spread of rumors. A journalist from India said broadcasters there had not carried a tsunami warning during the tsunami. But there was no system to give us a warning. Broadcasters are in a position to help the people who are suffering by letting the world know of their situations and needs.

    More lives may be saved in the future by raising awareness of natural disasters and precautionary measures. In Sri Lanka, the role of broadcasters was very limited during the tsunami in In fact, there was no special committee or group among the broadcasters to educate the people or assist them to evacuate from disaster areas. Some broadcasters pointed out that when tsunami happened most of the broadcasters were out of the station and there was no connection or networks among them.

    It took nearly 10 hours to gather some broadcasters and have primary meeting with them Interview with several broadcasters in Sri Lanka, December 15th, However, after the tsunami, the Sri Lankan government focused more on the disaster management and established some emergency teams that include broadcasters and newspaper reporters. The main purpose of this recruitment is to educate the people and direct them toward safe evacuation. In fact, it is important to educate the people and direct them to a safe area and mobilize the outsiders so that the victims can get assistance from the outsiders.

    It is reported that when tsunami happened in in Sri Lanka, the preliminary meeting held with the broadcasters decided to open an emergency operation center within the premises of Sri Lanka broadcasting centre and send broadcaster team to collect food, clothes and basic needs from other parts of Sri Lanka and send the assistance to the tsunami victims.

    Even now many broadcasters and TV channels conduct this program when natural disaster happens in Sri Lanka. Apart from the relief assistance, the broadcasters also began to collect some information about the tsunami and telecasted a tsunami awareness programs via the State-owned television called Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation. Moreover, the broadcasters also began to contact some foreign media and mobilized their support for the immediate assistance from various countries. It is noted that when tsunami happened in in Sri Lanka, India sent five helicopters and 10 rescue teams to save the people from the tragedy.

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    This indicates that broadcasters can play a major role in assisting the people during natural disasters. The Role of International Organizations International organizations have been playing a key role on the issue of tsunami disaster prevention in Sri Lanka. It is reported that more than 50 organizations both local and international engaged on the disaster prevention and provided a huge amount of money to build houses and improve their livelihood issues.

    In order to bring back the normalcy among the tsunami victims many international organizations and institutions began to work with the Sri Lankan government. This road map is focused on seven thematic components and focuses in more than disaster management projects that aim to provide services on human rights, conflict resolution, and capacity building.

    These projects can be divided into three categories: short-term projects, mid-term projects, and long-term projects. Short-term projects mainly focus on the relief assistance such as food, shelter temporary , and livelihood issues.

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    Mid-term projects mainly focus on the recovery issue. Long-term projects focus on infrastructure and development issues.

    The implementation of projects can be divided into three sections, namely at the national level, community level, and school levels. This will be explained in detail at section 4. Development Projects at the National Level There are more than 20 national projects launched by the Sri Lankan government and international organizations to strengthen the disaster management systems in Sri Lanka.

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    The followings are some of the national level projects: technology projects on disaster management, coastal zone management projects, and mangrove projects. Technology projects on disaster management mainly focus on the early warning systems.

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    It is reported that there are 34 early warning towers and centers built by the government from to In , right after the tsunami, the Sri Lankan government declared that the residents should build and own their houses and properties meters away from the beach. These meters are considered as a buffer zone where nobody can own a business or physical property. However, there are some buildings and properties are still located within the Buffer Zone.

    This can be seen mainly in the Galle district in Sri Lanka. The purposes of these projects were to improve the livelihood issues and increase their capacity building. Religious community can play a major role in disaster management. According to a Buddhist monk in Galle district, there are several religious groups that conduct preaches and workshops about the disaster prevention in Sri Lanka.

    Regarding the fishing community, the Sri Lankan government has introduced some projects among the fishermen and created some networks among them so that they can pass the messages and make precautions in case of emergency. It is noted that the community level projects have improved the knowledge of disaster management among the people. Development Projects at the School Level The Indian Ocean tsunami in clearly demonstrated that the population of Sri Lanka was not prepared to deal with the hazards threatening them. The populace did not recognize the risks, did not know how to protect them, and in decisive moments often responded inappropriately.

    For example, many Sri Lankans actually ran out onto the beach as the sea receded dramatically in the drawback just before the flood wave came crashing ashore, and were thus lured to their deaths. Education is deemed to play a key role in this context as a vehicle for communicating the knowledge and skills necessary for reducing vulnerability and achieving a culture of disaster safety or prevention.

    The Sri Lankan government and many international organizations launched several projects on disaster management. It is also reported that both the Sri Lankan government and some international organizations have conducted some workshops and seminars among the university lectures, graduates, teachers and school children in many parts of Sri Lanka.

    The main purpose of these workshops and seminars are to educate the people about the tsunami and reduce the vulnerability during the disasters. Many foreign countries and international organizations financed for these workshops and seminars. The main purpose of this project was to promote knowledge and skills of personnel employed in the education sector with respect to disaster preparedness and school disaster safety.

    In order to generate this knowledge and build methodological competency among teachers, the project worked with 17 national colleges of education as well as teacher-training centers in Sri Lanka. Moreover, the above project also focused on establishing the first aid team in many schools in case of emergency or disaster.

    It is reported that the above project financed the establishment of a first aid team in more than schools in many parts of Sri Lanka. Support that only another earthquake-prone nation can provide Like Japan, Peru is located in the circum-Pacific seismic zone and subject to frequent earthquakes and tsunamis. The earthquake and tsunami caused major damage.

    Efforts are underway to study and develop effective technologies for evaluating the risk of disasters caused by future earthquakes and tsunamis and mitigating the damage caused by these disasters. In this project, researchers will develop seismic source models based on past major earthquakes, conduct tsunami simulations, study building earthquake-resistance, develop retrofitting technologies and so on.

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    An effort will also be made to promote comprehensive earthquake and tsunami damage prediction and disaster mitigation technologies that take into account regional attributes. Determination of regional attributes and establishment of effective disaster mitigation plans for earthquakes in Peru Model case studies of major earthquakes that have occurred in the past will be selected to predict earthquake motions resulting from plate boundary earthquakes off the coast of Peru and promote tsunami damage assessment.

    Study of the earthquake resistance of buildings including historical structures is progressing smoothly, and satellite images have been used to prepare land use maps. These results will be integrated to establish effective disaster mitigation plans that are appropriate for the region.

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