Indonesia rolls out JRC-designed system to enhance Tsunami Early Warning

Indonesia has announced plans to roll out a tsunami early warning system based on the Inexpensive Device for Sea Level Monitoring (IDSL).

The system was developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre with support from the Commission’s department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).

The new plan for IDSL installation foresees the acquisition of 100 new units before the end of 2020 and a more ambitious implementation of an additional 530 units over the coming years, for fisheries, ports and conservation areas across Indonesia.

The IDSL is already installed in 7 locations in Indonesia (Sebesi Island, Marina Jambu, Pandangaran, Sadeng Port and Pelabuhan Ratu on Java Island and Bungus Port on Sumatra Island). It is also being installed in Mentawai Island.

The initiative is part of a collaboration between the JRC, DG ECHO and the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries, initiated in 2019 when the JRC provided Indonesia with 8 IDSL devices to quickly implement a new Tsunami Warning System in the aftermath of the Anuk Krakatau volcano explosion on 22 Dec 2018. The event triggered a severe Tsunami, killing more than 400 people in the Sunda Strait.

The JRC began developing the IDSL in 2014. It has been installed in 35 locations in the Mediterranean Sea to enhance the monitoring capability of the Tsunami Warning Centres, in collaboration with local institutions and the UNESCO International Oceanographic Commission.

The characteristics of this innovative device are:

its low cost (2.5 k Euro vs 25-30 k Euro of similar devices);
the quick response and transmission (latency less than 5s from measurement to data publication);
the easy installation (less than 2h);
the presence of a software onboard able to detect Tsunami waves or other large sea level variations and send email and SMS to a prescribed list of recipients.
The name of IDSL has been modified to ‘PUMMA’ in the Indonesian language, or Perangkat Ukur Murah untuk Muka Air (Low cost Device for Sea Level Measurement).

It has the same meaning but is easier for Indonesians to recognise and understand its functioning.

Announcing the plans, Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo referred to the geographical position of Indonesia and indicated: “This situation prompts the Indonesian government to formulate a practical tsunami mitigation regime because a large number of coastal communities and villages could be left vulnerable and devastated when a tsunami strikes. In addition, vast coastlines and a large number of coastal communities means that Indonesia needs tsunami early warning systems to be installed in many tsunami prone areas. In this situation, the government needs to develop a tsunami mitigation program that includes the participation of the communities to develop their preparedness and make them more resilient to tsunami."

The new devices will be built with the collaboration of the European Commission and the involvement of local small scale companies and universities.

They will be integrated with the overall monitoring network in Indonesia provided by BIG (Sea Level Monitoring Institution) and BMKG (Tsunami Service Provider).

The IDSL (or PUMMA) will be implemented not only for tsunami early warning, but also for monitoring of fisheries port activities, marine tourisms, marine ecosystem and sea level rise.

Leave a Reply