Phuket- National egos appeared to have stood in the way of international co-operation aimed at preventing further tsunami tragedies inAsia.
A plan to set up a single co-ordination centre for anIndian Oceantsunami warning system fell through due to disagreement betweenThailand,IndonesiaandIndia- among the countries most affected by the Dec 26 killer waves - on its location.
Thailandwanted the centre to be set up inBangkok, its capital, but the idea was opposed byIndonesiaandIndia. The three nationswere among more than 50 countries and organisations taking part in the two-day Ministerial Meeting on Regional Co-operation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements.
The meeting, which ended on Jan 29, was held inThailand’s ravaged resortislandofPhuket.
In the absence of a consensus on the location of a single centre, the meeting ended with an agreement to set up a region-wide network of nodes, tracking tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons and other disasters in theIndian OceanandSoutheast Asia.
The nodes are, in essence, sub-regional tracking centres inIndonesia,IndiaandThailand, which will track natural disasters in their areas and relay the information to the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (APDC) inBangkok, to be collated and disseminated throughout the region.
The systems are expected to be installed by next year. A voluntary trust fund started byThailandwith US$10 million would underwrite the effort.
* Tsunami warning system: Not one, but three centres (New Straits Times, Jan 31)