Saturday, May 27, 2006

Philippine military welcomes deployment of Malaysia tsunami warning buoy in Sulu Sea

(Photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 27 May) The Philippine military on Saturday hailed a Malaysian proposal to deploy a buoy as early warning for tsunami in the Sulu Sea, northeast of Mindanao island.

Malaysia said it would deploy a third buoy in the Sulu Sea next month. But Dr Yap Kok Seng, director general of the Malaysian Meteorological Service Department, said the exact location and date of installation have yet to be decided as the matter is still being discussed with the Filipino government.

Filipino security officials said they are willing to work closely with their Malaysian counterpart in the early detection of tsunami.

"We welcome the proposed deployment of the buoy in the Sulu Sea as this will give countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines, and Indonesia an early warning for tsunami. We will work closely with our Malaysian counterpart to ensure the safety and security of the buoy," Major General Gabriel Habacon, commander of military forces in the southern Philippines, told the Zamboanga Journal.

A tsunami warning system is a system to detect tsunami and issue warnings to prevent loss of life. It consists of two equally important components: a network of sensors to detect tsunamis and a communications infrastructure to issue timely alarms to permit evacuation of coastal areas. This gives time for a tsunami forecast to make and warnings to be issued to threatened areas.

The sensing devices on the buoys contain pressure sensors for determining a wave's size by gauging the weight of the water column passing over it. This information is relayed to the surface buoy and then to a satellite by modems. The satellite then beams the information to tsunami warning centers.

"The Malaysian government is still discussing with the Philippines government on the location of the third buoy, and the Philippines government's response so far has been very good," Yap said.

The first Malaysian buoy was installed near the island of Rondo in Sumatra, Indonesia late last year while the second was deployed in March near the Layang-Layang island in South China Sea.

The need for urgent deployment of the buoy coincided with a powerful earthquake early Saturday morning in Indonesia's Central Java province that killed scores of people. The earthquake, measured 6.2 in the Richter scale, flattened small buildings.The quake, which struck at 5.54 a.m., was triggered also by heightened activity by Mount Merapi volcano, according to Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.

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