Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre for Ampara | Daily News


Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre for Ampara

The Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre in Ampara.
The Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre in Ampara.

The fourth Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre which was built in the Buddhangala Rajamaha Vihara premises by the Geological Surveys and Mines Bureau (GSMB) was opened recently, a media release issued by the Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The building for the complex has been completed and it will soon commence computer data gathering to initiate warning on impending earthquake and tsunami disasters in the Eastern coastal area.

Three decades ago, this location in the Eastern Province was under LTTE control.

The Centre at the Buddhangala Rajamaha Vihara Hermitage Complex was launched under the auspices of GSMB’s Director General Professor C.H.E.R Siriwardene and the Bureau’s Chairman Engineer Anura Walpola. The occasion was graced by Rajakeeya Panditha Shasthrapathi Pujya Digavapi Ven. Susima Thera and the Additional District Secretary of the area.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Centre, the Director General said: “In 2004, when the Tsunami occurred due to an earthquake which recorded 9.3 on the Richter Scale, in the Indian Ocean close to the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia, we were unprepared and did not possess the means to receive early warning of the impending Tsunami. Now, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Sri Lanka has developed links with the GSMB and built an Earthquake and Tsunami Detection Centre in Pallekele. As an international data centre, it maintains direct communication links with 10 global earthquake detection data centres.”

The primary objective of CTBTO operations across the world is to gather data on internal nuclear testing. The centres also have the capability to capture and disseminate correct information on the potential danger of earthquake and tsunami natural disasters.

In 2010, the GSMB introduced two more earthquake detection centres in Mahakandarawa and Hakmana with overseas assistance. With these centres, Sri Lanka has gained access to data to detect emerging danger from natural disasters. The detection centres are equipped to operate 24 hours with experienced officers skilled at analyzing emerging data from centres across the world.

To accurately ascertain an impeding natural disaster, it would be necessary to analyze data from three data centres. It is for this reason that the GSMB has set up a detection centre in the Buddhangala Hermitage Complex. The operational costs will be met in full by the centre. Earthquake specialist Nilmini Thaldena of the GSMB stated that another detection centre is planned to be set up in the Colombo District to cover the Western Province.

Engineer Anura Walpola, Chairman of GSMB stated: “Most Sri Lankans are not aware of the important role the GSMB plays directly to gather and analyse data on detecting earthquakes. We work closely with Disaster Management, Weather Bureau, Building Materials Department and related organizations and have set up detection centres costing Rs. 10 million to receive early warning of impeding natural disasters.”

While the GSMB operates 24 hours to detect earthquakes in the Indian and South Asian region, its main detection centre receives data from centres in Pallekele, Hakmana, Mahakandarawa and Ampara, as well as long distance data communications.

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