Brussels, 10 Jan 2005
In the wake of the 26 December earthquake and resulting tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, Germany has announced it that it will lead international efforts in setting up an early warning system for tsunamis.
A system coordinated by the Geophysical Research Centre (GFZ) in Potsdam could be in place in three years at an initial cost of 40 million euro, Education and Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn has announced.
'The strength of our concept is that we are building on existing observation centres,' Ms Bulmahn told the German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: 'We do not have to start from scratch.'
The GFZ in Potsdam specialises in earthquake and tsunami research. According to Germany's deputy foreign minister, Klaus Scharioth, the institute, which was established in 1992, is 'much further advanced' in this type of research than any other centre. It would add 30 to 40 new stations in the Indian Ocean to an existing global network of 50 seismological research bodies and initially concentrate research on Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two countries worst hit by the tsunami, which killed at least 156,000 people.
In the event of an earthquake, a warning would be posted on the Internet within a matter of minutes and e-mails and SMS (Short Message Service) text messages sent automatically to regional data stations and all users in the network, including government agencies, hotels and individuals.
Together with other donor nations, some 250 new stations could later be set up and added to the network. According to Ms Bulmahn, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean should also be included.
'The Greek and Turkish coastlines are also an extremely dangerous earthquake zone,' she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Germany has more dead and confirmed missing than any other EU country: 60 Germans were killed and 716 are still missing.
For further information on the GFZ in Potsdam, please visit: