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IOWave Tsunami Exercise


The devastating impact of the 26 December 2004 Indonesia earthquake and Indian Ocean Tsunami tragically demonstrated what can happen without an effective tsunami warning system.

The 2004 tsunami caused damage and casualties across the entire Indian Ocean basin—even as far away as South Africa.

Following this event, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) was requested to establish an Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS), to promote the exchange of seismic and sea level data for rapid tsunami detection and analysis, to provide warnings for such events, and to coordinate mitigation efforts among its Member States.

An efficient and effective end-to-end warning system was needed, ready to react 24 hours a day to any potential tsunami threat, alert those at-risk coastal communities, and motivate them to take immediate and appropriate steps to save their lives.

Under the guidance of the ICG/IOTWMS, Member States collaborated in the development of the IOTWMS.

The IOTWMS is a System of Systems with each National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) of the 28 Member States issuing tsunami warnings to their respective communities based on the tsunami threat information provided by three Tsunami Service Providers (TSPs) of Australia, India and Indonesia.



Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercises (IOWave) are effective tools for evaluating the readiness of the end-to-end Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigations System (IOTWMS) and for identifying changes that can improve its effectiveness.

The ICG/IOTWMS notes the value of basin-wide tsunami exercises and drills and organizes them once in every 2 years providing an excellent opportunity for the IOTWMS member States to test their end-to-end Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and promoting Community awareness and response.

Planning and preparation for these exercises is guided by a Task Team established by the ICG/IOTWMS during its sessional meetings. Trainings and Workshops are also organized by the ICG/IOTWMS to enhance the capacities of Member States to effectively participate in the tsunami exercises.

The IOTWMS was initially tested in the Indian Ocean-wide tsunami warning and response exercise IOWave09 held in October .

The 11th Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System  held from 18 to 20 April 2017 in Putrajaya, Malaysia, established a Task Team to organise the next Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercise (IOWave18) in the second half of 2018 and encouraged maximum participation from all Member States, where possible, to community level.


The purpose of the exercise is to increase tsunami preparedness, evaluate response capabilities in each state and improve coordination throughout the region.

It is also aimed at enhancing tsunami preparedness at the community level.

The exercise will simulate Indian Ocean countries being put in tsunami warning situation and require National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) i.e. National and Local Disaster Management Offices (NDMO/LDMO) to implement and test their communication links and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at all levels of warning chain.

In this exercises Hyderabad based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) will be nodal participating agency.

It will be involved in evacuation of more than 1,25,000 people from coastal communities of Odisha, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Goa in this simulated tsunami warning situation.

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