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Dublin hosts UNESCO meeting on tsunami warning system

dublin, 16 november 2015​


unesco experts from 16 countries will meet in dublin today (monday) to discuss preparedness for possible tsunamis in the north-east atlantic and mediterranean sea. the meeting, which is being hosted by the geological survey of ireland (gsi), will be opened by minister for communications, energy and natural resources, alex white.

this is the twelfth meeting of the group, which is working through unesco's intergovernmental oceanographic commission to develop a tsunami early warning and mitigation system for the north-eastern atlantic and mediterranean area.

the group was established by unesco in response to the tragic tsunami of 26 december 2004, which claimed over 250,000 lives in the indian ocean region. while the risks of tsunami in the atlantic and mediterranean are relatively low, historical records and geological evidence show that the irish coast is vulnerable to tsunamis from sub-marine landslides and distant earthquakes.

gsi director keon verbruggen said: "while tsunamis are very rare events in the atlantic, the effects of a tsunami in ireland would probably be similar to the coastal flooding seen during storm surges, but we would have a much shorter time to react. that's why we need to put an effective detection and warning system in place. the geological survey of ireland is working with other government departments to ensure that we have an appropriate response for ireland."

an international tsunami detection and alerting system is in place and has been tested a number of times.  ireland receives tsunami messages from the french centre national d'alerte aux tsunamis (cenalt).  the geological survey of ireland is working with national partners, including the office of emergency planning, met éireann, dublin institute for advanced studies and the marine institute, to develop an appropriate emergency response plan.

the department of communications, energy and natural resources is the lead government department for tsunami in the national emergency management process.


notes to editors

the formal title of the group meeting in dublin is the intergovernmental coordination group of the tsunami early warning and mitigation system for the north-eastern atlantic, the mediterranean and connected seas group. it was formed in response to the tsunami on 26 december 2004, in which over 250,000 lives were lost around the indian ocean region. the intergovernmental oceanographic commission of unesco (ioc-unesco) received a mandate from the international community to coordinate the establishment of the system. the guidelines for the neamtws activities are compiled in the neamtws imprementation plan

the geological survey of ireland is the national earth science agency. it is responsible for providing geological advice and information, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose. gsi produces a range of products including maps, reports and databases and acts as a knowledge centre and project partner in all aspects of irish geology. gsi is a division of the department of communications, energy & natural resources (dcenr).

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