A one-day Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercise (IOWAVE 23) is being held, on Tuesday, at the initiative of the Mauritius Meteorological Services in collaboration with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Centre (NDRRMC) and relevant Ministries and stakeholders, at the seat of the NDRRMC in Port Louis.
The simulation exercise is being carried out at regional level with the participation of more than 20 other countries around the Indian Ocean. The objective of the exercise is to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System and to test communication protocols at national and local levels hence enhancing tsunami preparedness at community level.
IOWAVE 23 is being carried out at national level under the National Emergency Operations Command (NEOC)/NDRRMC and includes the participation of different Ministries and departments, and local organisations including the Mauritius Ports Authority, AHRIM, NGOs and Coastal communities.
Seven local authorities located in the coastal regions, including, Rivière du Rempart, Flacq, Grand Port, Savanne, Black River, Port Louis and Pamplemousses, are participating in the exercise through the activation of their respective Local Emergency Operations Command. The exercise is also being carried out in Rodrigues and the Outer Islands.
The Emergency Alert App is being used to relay information to the general public. This mobile app, implemented as a channel of communication between the NEOC, the NDRRMC and members of the general public, will provide warning/alert notifications as and when required by the NEOC/NDRRMC.
Addressing the stakeholders, the Commanding Officer of the Special Mobile Force and the NEOC Commander, Mr Premanand Budhoo, informed that NEOC level 3 has been activated for the simulation exercise.
He underlined that regular simulation exercises are important for maintaining readiness of all stakeholders for the real event. Rapid and effective response is essential when a Tsunami will occur, he said. He further added that the IOWAVE is critical in identifying any shortcomings as well as areas of improvement to enhance tsunami preparedness at community level.
Simulation Exercise scenario
The exercise kickstarted at 06h00 and will end at 18h00. It will include simulated evacuation exercise in Mauritius at Quatre Soeurs and Rivière des Galets and in Rodrigues at Graviers, Pointe Coton and St François.
According to the scenario, an earthquake of magnitude 8.6 has occurred at 06h08 on 25 October 2023 within coordinates 10.4S in latitude and 112.8E in longitude, at about 800 km to the South East of Jakarta. Such an earthquake is likely to generate a tsunami.
Sea level observations have confirmed that a tsunami has been generated and a tsunami warning is in force in Mauritius, Rodrigues, St Brandon and Agalega. Wave height of 11.8 metres and 3.5 metres were observed in Indonesia and Australia respectively.
The forecast arrival time of the first wave and the estimated Maximum Wave Amplitude at the beach are as follows: Rodrigues at 12h50, wave height 1.1 metres; Mauritius at 13h40 hours local time, wave height 3.9 metres; and St Brandon at 13h32 hours local time, wave height 1.4 metres. Agalega is not under any tsunami threat.
The population has been advised that a tsunami is a series of waves and the time between successive waves can be five minutes to more than one hour.
It is recalled that the NDRRMC actively took part in the regional IOWAVE exercises of 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.