World Tsunami Awareness Day reminds Australians of ever present threat

SYDNEY, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — World Tsunami Awareness Day took place on Monday with Australian experts reassuring the public that while the threat is real, precautions are in place to avoid disasters happening.

In Australia and surrounding areas, tsunami threat is monitored by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Center (JATWC), formed as part of the international response to the 2004 Indian Ocean wave that killed nearly 230,000 people in more than a dozen countries, one of the most deadly natural disasters of all time.

Co-director of the JATWC, Adrienne Moseley said there are around 45 possible tsunami-causing earthquakes worldwide each year and that Australia is no exception to the threat.

“Most people don’t realize that Australia is surrounded by active tectonic plate boundaries capable of generating tsunami with potential to impact Australia and the region,” Moseley said.

“We are working to help communities along Australia’s coastline prepare for potential events.”

JATWC works with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in implementing an early warning system which could mean the difference between life and death for people in the path of a tsunami.

“A major key to an effective response is timely communication and coordination with emergency responders, and that’s why we conduct regular exercises with all our key partners,” said Dr. Yuelong Miao, BoM manager of tsunami and storm surge.

“Within 30 minutes of an earthquake occurring, the JATWC provides a tsunami advice of either no threat or potential threat to Australia.”

Authorities have said that it is also important for individuals to recognize the early warning signs of tsunamis themselves, including receding waters, earthquakes and loud unusual noises coming from the ocean.

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