New Tsunami Institute Provides Training on an International Scale

Participants utilize tsunami forecasting tools as part of a hands-on classroom exercise.
Participants utilize tsunami forecasting tools as part of a hands-on classroom exercise.

In the summer of 2007, 31 representatives from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and the Maldives — countries most affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami — took part in the first session of the International Tsunami Training Institute (ITTI) in Seattle, Wash.

NOAA and the University of Washington, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), joined forces to create ITTI and conduct the two-week certification program.

”An effective and complete tsunami warning network consists of more than buoys in the water. Communication and research are also essential,” said Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “Since the goal of the USAID project is to enable governments and communities to detect and prepare for tsunamis, training an international team of experts who can help the residents of their countries is a vital effort.”

The course is designed for planners, policy makers, emergency managers, scientists, engineers, and other professionals in both the public and private sectors, such as government agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, and private industry.

December 24, 2004, Sumatra tsunami in Sri Lanka
December 24, 2004, Sumatra tsunami in Sri Lanka.

As part of the U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Program, this training provides attendees with vital skills necessary to build more tsunami-resilient communities. Topics included tsunami hazard assessment; tsunami warning systems; and tsunami mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

ITTI plans its first training program in Asia in February 2008 at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. Next summer, professionals in tsunami-related and emergency management fields from 29 states that have tsunami awareness programs will be invited to participate. NOAA logo.