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Preparing for Tsunami: Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham only Non-Governmental Institution to Represent India at Gathering in Oman

April 30, 2024 - 10:20
Preparing for Tsunami: Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham only Non-Governmental Institution to Represent India at Gathering in Oman

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham was the only private organization to represent India at the North-West Indian Ocean Regional Workshops on Tsunami Inundation Mapping and Evacuation Planning. The event was held from April 21-25 in Muscat, Oman, and convened key stakeholders and experts to enhance tsunami preparedness across the region and at the community level.

Seventy officials from northwest Indian Ocean countries took part, including Iran, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, and India. Discussions focused on crucial objectives aimed at advancing tsunami preparedness and included the development of inundation maps and evacuation plans for pilot areas within each member state.

Amrita stood alongside esteemed governmental bodies such as the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), and the Directorate of Disaster Management, Andaman Nicobar Islands.

The workshops were jointly organised by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), and Oman Civil Aviation Authority.

Dr Maneesha V Ramesh, Amrita’s Provost & Dean, Amrita School for Sustainable Futures, and Dr Sudha Arlikatti, Professor and Research Head, Amrita School for Sustainable Futures, were among the distinguished delegates invited to participate.

“Representing India at this workshop is a moment of pride for Amrita, signifying a pivotal advancement in tsunami preparedness among member states. Our collaborative efforts at the workshop aimed to cultivate regional and national partnerships, enrich knowledge exchange, scrutinise existing tsunami inundation maps, and offer training in tsunami evacuation mapping using global best practices,” said Dr Ramesh.

“Partnering with INCOIS since 2022, Amrita has been at the forefront of the Tsunami Ready Programme. The insights gleaned from this workshop will reverberate widely within the communities we serve.”

The recommendations are expected to outline modern methods and practices on evacuation plans before and after disasters like tsunamis. They will also provide guidelines for national and regional centres, advising them about how to handle disasters and deal with warnings as soon as they are issued.

The Amrita team met with key delegates with the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS). The organisation was formed after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami took more than 250,000 lives in the Indian Ocean region. The officials included Rick Bailey, Head of the Secretariat; Dwikorita Karnawati, Chair; and Dr Mohammad Mokhtari, Chair of Regional Working Group for the North-West.

Amrita also consulted with other distinguished guests, including Temily Baker, Programme Management Officer at UN ESCAP, who attended online, and Eng Said Al Harthy, Acting Director of Directorate General of Meteorology, Civil Aviation Authority, Sultanate of Oman.

The University has been actively participating in the Tsunami Ready Programme since 2022 in Alappad, Kerala, an area profoundly impacted by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Through several initiatives, Amrita has been diligently working to enhance Tsunami Preparedness among community members, including women with Amrita SREE Self-Help Groups and school children.

As a part of Tsunami Ready, the local government is gearing up to be recognised as the second Tsunami Ready Community in India. This steadfast commitment underscores Amrita’s dedication to disaster risk reduction and aligns with its contribution to two UN Sustainable Development Goals—13: Climate Action and 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

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