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Preparing for Tsunami: Amrita University only non-governmental institution to represent India at gathering in Oman 

Group photo
Representatives from countries including Iran, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, and India connected to collectively strengthen disaster response.

Key Points

  • The North-West Indian Ocean Regional Workshops on Tsunami Inundation Mapping and Evacuation Planning took place in Oman and included 70 officials from Iran, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, and India. 
  • Amrita University joined governmental bodies from India, including Centre’s INCOIS, as well as state representatives from Kerala, Odisha, and Andaman Nicobar Islands. The event was jointly organised by UN organisations and the Oman Civil Aviation Authority. 
  • The discussions focused on modern evacuation methods and practices and included the development of inundation maps and evacuation plans for pilot areas within each member state.   
29 April 2024
Main topic
Disaster Relief
Related topics
Disaster Relief Humanitarian

Amrita University was the only private organisation to represent India at the North-West Indian Ocean Regional Workshops on Tsunami Inundation Mapping and Evacuation Planning. The event was held from April 21-25 in Muscat, Oman, and convened key stakeholders and experts to enhance tsunami preparedness across the region and at the community level.   

Seventy officials from northwest Indian Ocean countries took part, including Iran, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, and India. Discussions focused on crucial objectives aimed at advancing tsunami preparedness and included the development of inundation maps and evacuation plans for pilot areas within each member state. 

Amrita stood alongside esteemed governmental bodies such as the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), and the Directorate of Disaster Management, Andaman Nicobar Islands. 

The workshops were jointly organised by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), and Oman Civil Aviation Authority. 

Dr Maneesha V Ramesh, Amrita’s Provost & Dean, Amrita School for Sustainable Futures, and Dr Sudha Arlikatti, Professor and Research Head, Amrita School for Sustainable Futures, were among the distinguished delegates invited to participate.  

“Representing India at this workshop is a moment of pride for Amrita, signifying a pivotal advancement in tsunami preparedness among member states. Our collaborative efforts at the workshop aimed to cultivate regional and national partnerships, enrich knowledge exchange, scrutinise existing tsunami inundation maps, and offer training in tsunami evacuation mapping using global best practices,” said Dr Ramesh. 

“Partnering with INCOIS since 2022, Amrita has been at the forefront of the Tsunami Ready Programme. The insights gleaned from this workshop will reverberate widely within the communities we serve.” 

The recommendations are expected to outline modern methods and practices on evacuation plans before and after disasters like tsunamis. They will also provide guidelines for national and regional centres, advising them about how to handle disasters and deal with warnings as soon as they are issued.  

The Amrita team met with key delegates with the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS). The organisation was formed after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami took more than 250,000 lives in the Indian Ocean region. The officials included Rick Bailey, Head of the Secretariat; Dwikorita Karnawati, Chair; and Dr Mohammad Mokhtari, Chair of Regional Working Group for the North-West.  

Amrita also consulted with other distinguished guests, including Temily Baker, Programme Management Officer at UN ESCAP, who attended online, and Eng Said Al Harthy, Acting Director of Directorate General of Meteorology, Civil Aviation Authority, Sultanate of Oman. 

The University has been actively participating in the Tsunami Ready Programme since 2022 in Alappad, Kerala, an area profoundly impacted by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Through several initiatives, Amrita has been diligently working to enhance Tsunami Preparedness among community members, including women with Amrita SREE Self-Help Groups and school children.  

As a part of Tsunami Ready, the local government is gearing up to be recognised as the second Tsunami Ready Community in India. This steadfast commitment underscores Amrita’s dedication to disaster risk reduction and aligns with its contribution to two UN Sustainable Development Goals—13: Climate Action and 17: Partnerships for the Goals. 

Amma with tsunami survivors
Amma’s immediate response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami marked the start of our work for Tsunami Disaster Management & Community Resilience.

In her book Embrace of Compassion: 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami – Swift Transformation & Community Resilience, Dr Ramesh shares how Amma began multi-dimensional and simultaneous tasks as soon as the tsunami struck on that unimaginably dark day. Her compassionate leadership ultimately transformed survivors and their communities to become much more resilient than before the disaster. 

This meant immediate response in the form of food, medical treatment, and shelter to more than 30,000 people in the regions of Alappad, Kerala and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu. Long-term rehabilitation included construction of 6,296 homes for tsunami survivors in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andaman Islands, and Sri Lanka; creative therapy sessions for 10,000 children to recover from mental and emotional trauma; vocational skills training for 2,500 young adults; 700 new boats for fishermen; and the birth of Amrita SREE SHGs. 

Embrace of Compassion is available at Amrita Books and Amazon.  

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