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Tonga tragedy prompts PM to check if Thailand’s prepared for another tsunami

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

That reminds me… The recent volcanic eruption on the island of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in Tonga has prompted the Thai PM to check Thailand’s preparedness in the event of another tsunami. According to a Nation Thailand report, the PM has instructed relevant agencies to keep an eye on developments in Tonga and to ensure Thailand’s disaster warning system is working.

Government spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul says the Tonga eruption over the weekend took place around 9,500 kilometres off the coast of the southern Thai province of Narathiwat. The eruption was so huge it prompted tsunami warnings and advisories for several countries across the Pacific Ocean, including American Samoa, New Zealand, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Australia, Japan, and the US.

Nation Thailand reports that Thailand’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department says the kingdom has 2 tsunami detection buoys, one in the Indian Ocean and one in the Andaman Sea. The Indian Ocean buoy issues a warning around 2 hours in advance of a tsunami hitting, whereas the one in the Andaman Sea gives a 45-minute advance warning. However, the department says the Andaman Sea buoy needs to be replaced.

“The Indian Ocean buoy is in working condition, but the one in the Andaman Sea has floated away from its position and the department is getting another buoy ready in its place.”

On December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean which killed approximately 227,898 people in 14 countries, including an estimated 8,000 in Thailand.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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