Indonesia tsunami – BMKG counters critics of tsunami warning

Excerpt of an article in the Jakarta Globe
Earthquake report, who followed all actions from the very beginning,  supports BMKG in his response to these critics.
People living near the Sea and Oceans should immediately evacuate to higher ground when  they feel the earthquake happening  (like in both Pagai islands).

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency on Thursday defended its lifting of a tsunami warning after Monday’s earthquake off Sumatra, even though some monstrous waves hit the Mentawai Islands, leaving more than 340 people dead and hundreds still missing.

Sriworo B Harijanto, who heads the agency known as the BMKG, said the tsunami warning it issued shortly after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake on Monday evening had been lifted one hour afterwards, in line with the standard operating procedures. Her agency was not responsible for ordering evacuations, she added.

The BMKG had also immediately forwarded the warning to the districts of Siberut, Muko-Muko, Bengkulu, Padang and Padang Panjang close to the epicenter of the temblor, and had received confirmation that they had received them.

“Afterwards it is the responsibility of these regional governments to relay the warning and order evacuation,” Sriworo said.

Sriworo said some tsunami early warning detectors off the west coast of Sumatra and the southern coast of Java had gone missing, but that did not prevent the issuance of an early warning.

“The number that went missing were not significant. The system works fine as we still managed to issue a warning five minutes after a quake,” she said.

Earlier Thursday, Warsito Purwo Taruno, a staff member specializing in research and cooperation for the State Ministry of Research and Technology (Ristek), said the country had lost six of the eight tsunami early warning detectors.

“Each of the sensory devices is attached underneath a buoy, installed on eight points along the fault lines in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Sumatra and Java. We only have two buoys left now,” he said.

The devices detect tremors caused by quakes and relay the data via satellite to the BMKG
Sriworo said that equally important was the quick response of coastal populations to heavy tremors.

People who sensed the tremor should have evacuated immediately rather than waiting for a tsunami warning,” she said.

Read the full article in the Jakarta Globe

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