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Indian Ocean Countries Test Tsunami Preparedness down to Community Level during Exercise IOWave16

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The exercise, known as Indian Ocean Wave 2016 (IOWave16), tested communication links between all stakeholders of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS), as the rapid transmission of messages between authorities and populations at risk is crucial to save lives in the event of a tsunami. 

The exercise comprised two scenarios: the first simulated an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.2 south of Sumatra, Indonesia, on 7 September; the second simulated an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 in the Makran Trench south of Iran and Pakistan on 8 September. Operations began when the Tsunami Service Providers of Australia, India and Indonesia issued alert notifications to the 24 IOTWMS Member States. Simulating tsunami waves travelling across the Indian Ocean, the exercise was conducted in real-time and lasted about 12 hours each day. 


The exercise included community evacuation drills, involving over 50,000 participants, in Australia, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. In Sri Lanka 14 villages evacuated, involving some 7,000 participants. In Oman eight schools and about 8,000 students took part in simulated evacuations. In India, community level evacuations were carried out in about 350 villages involving 40,000 participants.  An evaluation is being conducted to identify gaps and weaknesses in the system and to improve the IOTWMS.

Photographs and videos of Exercise IOWave16 are available at iowave16.org. There was considerable media interest in the exercise, and some 112 news articles and videos have so far been noted. A list of these news links is available for download here.

*Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France (Réunion), India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Yemen.