Meanwhile, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Phuket office (DDPM-Phuket) has confirmed that all of Phuket’s 19 warning towers are functioning but that same have slight faults.
Following last last Friday’s devastating Indonesian quake-tsunami on the island of Sulawesi, the country’s national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that a tsunami-warning system, which might have saved lives, had not worked for six years due to a lack of money.
“Our funding has been going down every year,” Nugroho said. (See story here.)
Speaking to The Phuket News yesterday (Oct 3), Director of the NDWC in Bangkok Suppapimit Paorik said, “I can confirm that the new tsunami-warning buoy which was deployed off Phuket in October 2017 (See story here) has been inactive for the past six months. We believe that the buoy has been damaged by fishing activities.
“We have already ordered a new buoy which cost about B10 million. It will be set up in November,” he said.
“There are two tsunami-warning buoys off Phuket, the nearest buoy (Station 23461) is 290 kilometres away (this is the damaged buoy), the second (Station 23401) is 960km away.
“When the first buoy receives a Tsunami warning people have 45 minutes to evacuate.
“When the second buoy receives the information people have 90 minutes to evacuate,” he added.
Mr Suppapimit went on to explain, “If one buoy is inactive, we still have another to catch the warnings which will then send information to the warning towers. In addition, there is a Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System unit on Mein Island which feeds information to the Royal Thai Navy.
“There is no need for people to panic. Should an incident arise please follow up the news via the DDPM website or call their hotline 1784,” he said.
Meanwhile, when The Phuket News contacted Director of the DDPM-Phuket Prapan Kanprasang yesterday to inquire about the island’s 19 tsunami-warning towers, Mr Prapan first said that he was busy solving the flood and landslides in Kalama area.
However, he did say, “We test all 19 towers around Phuket at 8am every Wednesday. These 19 towers not functioning 100%. For example, I found one tower in Kamala which did not broadcast loud enough”.
Mr Prapan said that he was not available to reveal any further details. “I told a specialist from the DDPM in Bangkok to respond. It is their direct responsibility.”
According to Mr Prapan, a specialist from the DDPM in Bangkok will come to look intro the problems soon. However, most of towers are still functional and will work should a tsunami occur.