Fourteen months have passed since the last earthquake and tsunami hit the coasts of our country. With a toll of 16 dead and more than 27 thousand people affected by it, this event reminds us once again that Chile is a seismic country by nature, a condition that forces us to be constantly in a state of alert and ready to face such emergencies.
To that end, the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Navy (SHOA) accepted the invitation of the United Nations (UN) to commemorate the "International Tsunami Awareness Day" to be held on 5 November. In this context, the Chile – Japan Bi-national Tsunami Drill was held on 3 November; initiative led by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Safety (ONEMI) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
During the drill, which included the coastal edges of the Valparaiso Region and the Port of Hososhima, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, the SHOA, through the National Tsunami Warning System (SNAM), tested the new Tsunami Warning Prediction System (SIPAT) tool that delivers a quick assessment of the behavior of the Tsunami and the different levels of threat to the entire coast of Chile.
After four minutes of receiving the preliminary information the earthquake by the National Seismological Centre (CSN), the SNAM issued its first bulletin indicating that there was a tsunami threat; information that was disseminated through different communication platforms implemented for this kind of emergencies and that somehow, started the drill, which mobilized about 500,000 personnel in our country.
For the Director of the SHOA, Admiral Patricio Carrasco Hellwig, this drill has revealed the technological capacity that the SNAM has, as well as the level of professionalism of those working in it. "In an emergency situation, the room is covered by about 15 people. The tsunami threat is assessed and the protocols set out for these situations are met. Also, the event is modeled on real-time and finally, in a maximum of 5 minutes, the first bulletin which reports what to expect against a tsunami event on our shores is issued.” He said.
Japanese authorities visit the SHOA
A delegation led by the Japanese Parliamentarian, Mr. Ryota Takeda, accompanied by the Japanese Ambassador to Chile, Mr. Naoto Nikai, visited the Operations Room of SNAM upon completion of the Binational Simulation.
During the visit, the foreign authorities and representatives of the ONEMI, could learn the different actions that were implemented during the drill and the technological capacity currently held by the SNAM to face an emergency.