Warning system mooted

National, Normal

THE climate change office wants to build an early warning system for coastal villagers in the country.
It is setting up a task force to look into this.
This follows last week’s twin disasters in Indonesia, the eruption of Mount Merapi and the 7.7-magnitude earthquake off west-central Sumatra which killed more than 400 people and left 150 missing.
Dr Wari Iamo, acting director of the office of climate change and development (OCCD), said they wanted to set up a coastal early warning system in collaboration with relevant government agencies to save lives.
The OCCD will do this in partnership with the National Disaster Centre (NDC), the National Weather Service (NWS), Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory (PMGO), the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA).
“The warning system will give Papua New Guineans living in coastal areas notice that a tsunami, cyclone or king tide is headed their way.
“This in turn will allow people to warn others, retreat, and ultimately reduce loss of lives and property.”
Iamo said they hoped to collaborate with service providers such as Digicel.
He did not say how much the early warning system would cost, or what kind of infrastructure they would use to set it up.
He also did not say when they would start.
But he said: “The task force expects that first major improvements to the system will be operational in 2011.”