Run tsunamis into the void

Early warning system in Indonesia will be further expanded

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The early warning system for tsunamis in the Indian Ocean is to be further expanded. As a basis for the participating German researchers, the detailed flood and Evakuierungssimulationen for the city of Padang in West Sumatra, Indonesia. The goal is to effectively prepare a tsunami early warning chain, including the significant "last mile", to the individual citizen. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the three-year project with around 1.2 million euros.


The city of Padang is the third-largest city in Sumatra, with a population of about one million and, due to its direct coastal location at sea level, a high-risk zone in a region endangered by earthquakes and tsunamis. On the entire west coast of Sumatra, a tsunami can reach the coastal towns in about 18 to 20 minutes. The project "Last-mile - Evacuation" is to contribute to the BMBF-funded large-scale project for the construction of a tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean (GITEWS) with scientific findings on the detailed flooding dynamics and optimal early warning and evacuation mechanisms in Padang, the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam passes.

Last mile in the sights

Under the direction of the Franzius Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Coastal Engineering of the Leibniz Universität Hannover, scientists combine satellite-based earth observation data, simulations of flood dynamics, and the expected evacuation behavior of the population for "last mile evacuation". The data creates a "visualized, artificial world" of the city of Padang. In addition, an area of ​​500 square kilometers will be flown in a sub-project of the project with a stereo camera system, whereby terrain elevations as well as individual buildings can be detected with high precision. The researchers want to simulate the traffic flow in case of an escape in large parts of the road network.

The aim of the project is the holistic and effective determination of the tsunami early warning chain in the city of Padang. This goal builds on the components of tsunami detection in the deep water as well as the processing of data and alarms in the central Indonesian Crisis and Information Center, thus creating a locally adapted warning system in Padang. Ultimately, the evacuation mechanisms and recommendations for evacuation in Padang are to be provided. The simulation of the traffic flows should identify problems with the evacuation (so-called "bottlenecks") and, as far as possible, mitigate them at an early stage. display

Prototype under construction

Since the devastating tsunami on December 26, 2004, scientists from Indonesian and German research institutes are working to set up a reliable deep-water early warning system with GPS buoys and ocean bottom pressure sensors, which will function as a prototype off the coast of Indonesia by the end of next year.

The joint project "Last-mile - Evacuation" involves local authorities and non-governmental organizations in Padang as well as Indonesian research institutions. In addition, cooperation with the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) in the region is planned. In Germany, among others, the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University (UNU-EHS), the University of Würzburg, the Technical University of Berlin, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and small and medium-sized enterprises are involved.

(idw - Leibniz University Hannover, 28.06.2007 - AHE)