Tsunami alarm test mix-up scares 6 provinces

PHUKET: Tsunami warning towers in the six tsunami-affected provinces sounded a false alarm at noon today because of a mix-up at the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC).

Adm Thaweesak Daengchai, Adviser to the National Disaster Warning Center, told the Gazette, “Radiance International Co was testing the tsunami warning system and the towers to confirm they will be ready for the test on December 16.

“When staff tested the alarm, they believed that the test they initiated would not set off the sirens.” But it did.

Adm Thaweesak ordered the Seismological Bureau of the Meteorological Department to announce the false alarm through television broadcasts.

Boonchai Somjai, the chief of the Phuket Provincial Office for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (ODPM), was not impressed.

“I checked with the NDWC and the Phuket Public Works and Town and Country Planning Office, because they are responsible for the towers and the system. The tsunami warning was set off, frightening people in six provinces – all because of a mistake with a computer at the NDWC.

“If Radiance International, which is responsible for installing the system, wants to test the towers, they must inform us before they do so.

“I am not sure whether they will test the alarm again tomorrow,” he said, “but if they plan to, I will advise the Governor to announce this to the public, in case there is another problem with the system.”

K. Boonchai added that one warning tower will be built at Nai Harn Beach in the “future”, depending on budget approval as there is currently no money allocated to build a tower at the popular southern beach.

Phuket News

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