Page last updated at 10:17 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 11:17 UK

Tsunami drill across Indian Ocean


People in Indonesia take part in a tsunami drill

Eighteen countries around the Indian Ocean have held a mass drill aimed at testing tsunami early warning systems.

The UN-backed drill simulated the 2004 quake off the coast of Sumatra which killed more than 200,000 people, half of them in Indonesia's Aceh province.

The exercise comes two weeks after a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean killed almost 200 people in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

UN officials are due to issue an assessment of the drill within days.

Exercise Indian Ocean Wave 09 tested warning systems and preparedness in nations in Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and Africa.

Aftermath of 2004 tsunami in Aceh
In 2004, the only warning most people had was the sight of a giant wave

Along the coast of Aceh hundreds of people - including schoolchildren - carried out a mock evacuation as ambulance crews stood watch.

But some residents were too traumatised by memories of the 2004 tsunami to take part.

"My chest has gone tight and I am shaking," Hamiyah, 58, who lost her in-laws, four children and five grandchildren, told AP news agency.

"If there's another disaster, I prefer to take shelter in the mosque so that if I die, I'd die in the mosque," Halimah, 43, told Reuters news agency as she watched the drill, but refused to take part.

Not all 18 participating countries involved the public in the exercise. The authorities in India and Thailand said they had concentrated instead on co-ordination between government agencies.

Officials from around the region declared the drill a success.

Indian Ocean tsunami monitoring stations

Since the 2004 tsunami, early warning systems ranging from beach sirens to deep ocean monitor buoys have been set up at a cost of about $150m (£94m), officials say.

Much of the money for the equipment has come from international donors, including Germany, Japan and China.

The test will determine whether the Indonesian authorities have spent that money wisely, and whether the local population is prepared for a future catastrophe, says the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Banda Aceh.

Print Sponsor

Indonesia quake deaths pass 1,000
01 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Deadly tsunami strikes in Pacific
30 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Indian Ocean tsunami warning system
23 Dec 05 |  Science & Environment
Tsunami: Anatomy of a disaster
27 Mar 05 |  Science & Environment
The tsunami disaster explained
30 Dec 04 |  Special Reports
Animated guide: Tsunamis
08 Sep 08 |  Science & Environment

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific