Tsunami mock drill ‘IOWave18’ begins: India along with 23 countries participates in exercise

This tsunami warning exercise is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. It was the IOC that coordinated the setting up of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of December 2004 tsunami.

Sep 4, 2018 10:23 IST
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Indian Ocean Wave Exercise 2018 (IOWave18) began on September 4, 2018 in the Indian Ocean. India along with 23 other nations is participating in this major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock drill which involves evacuation of thousands of people from coastal areas in over half a dozen coastal states.

Participants associated with Exercise IOWave18

Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tanzania and Yemen

This tsunami warning exercise is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. It was the IOC that coordinated the setting up of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of December 2004 tsunami.


Besides testing the standard operating procedure (SOP) and communication links at all levels of the warning chain, a primary objective of IOWave18 exercise is to enhance tsunami preparedness at community level.

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

Key Highlights of Exercise IOWave18

Exercise IOWave18 will simulate Indian Ocean countries being put in a tsunami warning situation and require the respective National Tsunami Warning Centres and the Disaster Management Offices in each country to implement their Standard Operating Procedures.

IOWave18 will also provide an opportunity for Member States to test the indicators of Indian Ocean Tsunami Ready (IOTR) programme in pilot communities. IOTR is a community performance-based programme that facilitates a structural and systematic approach in building tsunami preparedness.

The IOTWMS Tsunami Service Providers (TSP) of Australia, India and Indonesia will provide exercise bulletins and detailed tsunami threat advice on their password-protected websites.

Exercise IOWave18 will comprise two scenarios on successive days: one in the north western Indian Ocean off the coast of Iran, and the other in the eastern Indian Ocean off the west coast of northern Sumatra.

The first scenario will simulate a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Iran and the second scenario will simulate a magnitude 9.3 earthquake off the west coast of Northern Sumatra.

Both scenarios will generate simulated tsunami waves travelling across the Indian Ocean basin.

How IOWave18 will be coordinated in India?

• In India, IOWave18 is being coordinated by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) under Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) with support from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Coastal States/UTs.

• The exercise will involve the evacuation of more than 125000 people from the coastal communities of Odisha, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Goa.

• NDRF Battalions, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guards, Army, Critical installations (nuclear power plants), Port & harbors are also participating the exercise.


The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) at its 11th session in Malaysia in April 2017 decided to organise an Indian Ocean Wave Exercise 2018 (IOWave18) and established a Task Team to plan and conduct the exercise.

The Task Team decided to conduct the IOWave18 exercise during September 4-5, 2018. All IOTWMS Member States are encouraged to participate in the exercise to community level.

2004 Tsunami

  • On December 26, 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 struck beneath the Indian Ocean, the epicenter being off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.
  • The earthquake triggered one of the world’s deadliest tsunamis, which claimed more than 2 lakh lives in South and Southeast Asian nations.
  • Deadly waves of up to 30m breached the natural coastlines of the countries.
  • Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
  • It is the third-largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph and had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes.
  • In all, nations across the world donated more than US$14 billion in humanitarian aid for the damaged regions.

About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) promotes international cooperation and coordinates programmes in marine research, services, observation systems, hazard mitigation, and capacity development to understand and manage the resources of the ocean and coastal areas.

The Commission aims to improve the governance, management, institutional capacity, and decision-making processes of its Member States with respect to marine resources and climate variability.

IOC coordinates ocean observation and monitoring through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) which aims to develop a unified network providing information on the oceans.

IOC also coordinates and fosters the establishment of regional intergovernmental tsunami warning and mitigation systems in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean seas.


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