Following the undersea earthquake on 26 December 2004 and the subsequent strongest tsunami in living memory, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) took the lead in coordinating activities and immediate action to establish a Tsunami Warning System in the Indian Ocean.
The response included the establishment of an Interim Advisory Service to issue information bulletins concerning risks in the region until the RTSPs could shoulder this responsibility.
This Interim Advisory Service was provided through the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii and since April 2005. While the RTSPs has been the primary source of tsunami advisories for the Indian Ocean since 12 October 2011, the PTWC and JMA continued to operate a parallel service until 31 March 2013.
The activities of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS) will continue as before under IOC-UNESCO’s leadership, particularly the Working Groups focusing on:
- Tsunami Risk Assessment and Reduction
- Tsunami Detection, Warning and Dissemination, and
- Tsunami Awareness and Response.
- The ICG will also help to organize full-scale tsunami exercises every 2 years. The next test will take place in 2014.
The decision to cease the Interim Advisory Service was made by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group during its 9th session, 27-30 November 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The ICG expressed its deep appreciation to the Governments of Japan and of the United States of America for the provision of this service by the JMA and PTWC since April 2005 and acknowledged the excellent work of the RTSP Task Team in implementing RTSP operational services for the tsunami warning system.