Vietnam tests first local tsunami warning system

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The agriculture ministry cooperated with military-owned telecom giant Viettel to test Vietnam's first locally produced tsunami warning system in the central city of Da Nang on Sunday.


The system, said to cost around VND1 billion (US$48,567), was tested with the simulation of a 8.8 magnitude quake at sea which put the coastal city at risk of facing a six-meter high tsunami.


It took less than 20 minutes for the Institute of Geophysics to send the warning to observation stations which will spread it to local people.


According to the institute, which functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, it will take two hours for tsunamis generated by a strong earthquake off the coast of the Philippines to reach Vietnam's central coastline.


Vietnam's coastal areas are all at risk of being hit by tsunamis with waves several meters high, especially the ones between the central provinces of Quang Binh and Binh Thuan, it said.


Following the test, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai asked the agriculture ministry and Viettel to cooperate further and build more warning systems that could be replicated later in other parts of the country.


However, Huynh Van Thang, vice director Da Nang's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said people's top concern was where to go when tsunamis hit, and his agency was yet to have detailed evacuation plans.


In Da Nang, several mountains can be good choices of shelter from the waves, but detailed instructions were still needed to prevent people from overcrowding at certain places, Thang said.

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