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DEWS – EU straight proactive in Tsunami Early Warning

The European Commission is taking over a significant role in the early warning process in the Indian Ocean, strongly building upon the German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS).

„As excellent progress has been achieved within the GITEWS project so far, it is now high time to give more countries in the Indian Ocean region like Thailand or Sri Lanka timely access to early warning information, as well as real-time earthquake and ocean data.“ says Márta Nagy-Rothengass, Head of Unit ICT for Sustainable Growth at the European Commission in Brussels. “This enables them to save the lives of their peoples” she adds.

DEWS (Distant Early Warning System), mainly funded by the European Union’s 6th Framework Programme, has been started this year in order to build up an interoperable tsunami early warning system for the entire Indian Ocean region, beginning with Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Besides big industrial corporations like Atos Origin, SAAB AB or Elsag Datamat, and national research centres, national warning centres, leading universities and SMEs are participating in the project. By involving 11 partner countries, a new multi-national approach is being pushed by the EU.

The specific objectives of DEWS are:

High speed and precisely targeted tsunami early warning in the respective languages and communication systems of the target nations

Integration of new and existing national and international sensor systems

Improvement of sensor systems, sensor networks, software high speed processing and advanced telemetry

Professional and vocational education on a high academic level and full scale qualification of early warning specialists

Extension to other geographical areas and risk

The heart of DEWS is an Information Technology platform including the so-called DEWS Service Bus, developed at the GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) in Potsdam, Germany for the specific purposes of tsunami early warning systems.

The philosophy and approach of DEWS is based on a technical and methodical two-way transfer of know-how between partners. The new technology, results and experience of the application of the system in the Indian Ocean region with all practical aspects will be re-transferred to Europe. The Mediterranean Sea and the European coast of the North East Atlantic are considered tsunami prone. According to the European Commission this transfer would be an important step ahead in the protection of coastal as well as insular populations in Europe and Northern Africa.

Executive project management is conducted by Atos Origin Spain, an international technology services company, whereas the GFZ of Germany is responsible for the scientific and technical coordination. Partners from Japan and New Zealand are involved due to their outstanding competence and experience in the field of early warning for natural hazards.

Mario Wipki | alfa
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