The “APEC Seminar for evaluation of Tsunamis 2017" took place between December 5th- 7th and brought together experts of Tsunami Warning Centers from all over the world.
The inauguration of the Seminar was attended by the President of the Republic Mrs. Michelle Bachelet Jeria; Commander in Chief of the Navy, Admiral Mr. Julio Leiva Molina, and other national authorities. The meeting was focused on publicizing the technological advances in assessment, monitoring, decision support systems, and efforts at different levels to have a prepared population to face the threat of Tsunamis, as well as generating instances of collaboration between institutions in charge of these issues within APEC economies. All this, without forgetting that there are no foolproof systems, despite progress in recent years.
In this regard, Dr. Laura Kong, Director of the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) said that "this seminar was an excellent opportunity to learn about the system available in Chile, from the perspective of a Tsunamis Warning Center, and also, from the perspective of the ONEMI, and the response to a phenomenon like this, because our communities must be prepared and qualified to be safe.". She also said that the meeting has not only allowed to publicize the systems that Chile possesses, but also other tsunami warning tools that have been developed in other countries. "It is important for participating APEC economies to know everything that is being done in this matter."
As part of the activities, the participants visited the Operations Room of the National Tsunami Warning System (SNAM) on December 6; instance during which some of the experts expressed their impression about the implemented progress and protocols held in this unit. "Chile has done its best, much more than most countries to protect their coasts. Also, the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Navy (SHOA), shares, free of charge, all the information that different instruments record, helping the entire international system", said Dr. Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), who also highlighted the existing technological and professional level in the SNAM. "It's fantastic, the staff they have, the tools, they have been very creative, for example, with the use of Twitter, they the use keywords associated with seismic events, which can determine what areas are being affected. We have been thinking about doing something like this in our Center, and SNAM has already done it. It’s very good.”
For her part, Dr. Kong said that "the monitoring system in Chile has improved substantially since the Tsunami of 2010. It now has more sea level stations that deliver real-time information, also keeping in operation a group of 5 DART buoys. They also have a national seismological network that delivers real-time information; in addition to the SIPAT system, which allows them to estimate the impact that a tsunami will have on its shores, and, thus, to alert just part of the community, or all of it, depending on the type of threat. These improvements are impressive, and we are confident that Chile will provide good monitoring and a very reliable assessment of tsunami warnings.".
Finally, the Director of SHOA, Rear Admiral Patricio Carrasco Hellwig, stated that one of most important highlights by the participants of the seminar was the importance that Chile has given to the issue of natural disasters, and the progress that these topics have generated in the institutions involved in the management of emergencies since 2010. "After the earthquake and tsunami of 27 February, the SHOA has implemented tools such as SIPAT, and many other initiatives and innovations that want to be replicated by other countries, and that fill us with pride, because they correspond to a process that the Service has set for itself, which is the concept of continuous and permanent improvement in time, which is rooted in each of the professionals working in the Service.", he said.