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News > World

Indonesia Welcomes 2019 with New Tsunami Alarm System

  • Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has been criticized for initially saying there was no tsunami threat even as 4-5 meter waves crashed ashore Saturday.

    Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has been criticized for initially saying there was no tsunami threat even as 4-5 meter waves crashed ashore Saturday. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 December 2018
Opinion

The new system will be able to detect the size of the waves, Indonesian authorities said.

Indonesian authorities are planning construction for a new tsunami warning system to be built in 2019, a government agency said Tuesday, BBC reports.

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Poor technology is responsible for the nation’s current state of disrepair after a tsunami crashed the shores of Sunda Strait and its unsuspecting citizens on Dec.22, leaving at least 439 people dead and some 150 still missing.

Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has been criticized for initially saying there was no tsunami threat even as 4-5 meter waves crashed ashore Saturday. They later issued a correction and an apology, admitting the agency failed to register the tsunami waves caused by a volcanic eruption.

The antiquated system was only wired to respond to earthquakes, not undersea landslides or volcanic eruptions. Lack of funding left the shoreline bereft of functioning equipment for over five years, making it only a matter of time before disaster struck.

NGO’s denounced the state’s negligence after September’s earthquake and tsunami hit Sulawesi island and leftover 2,000 fatalities.

BNPB director,  Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, told CNN that none of the 22 underwater, seafloor buoys registered the incoming September tsunami. While the national meteorological and geophysics center said with the current budget, they can only afford to maintain 70 of the 170 earthquake sensors.

"Disaster funding continues to decline every year. The threat of a disaster increases, the incidence of disasters increases, the BNPB budget goes down," said Nugroho

Iyan Turyana, a spokesperson for the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, told the BBC Tuesday that the new system will be able to detect the size of the waves.

Officials say at least 1,485 people were injured, while 882 houses and 73 hotels and villas were damaged. Around 430 boats were also damaged. Consequently, there are over 16,000 residents currently displaced around the islands, staying in schools turned into temporary shelters in some cases.

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