The IUGG Electronic Journal

Volume 5 No. 1a (January 11, 2005)

Additional information on the IUGG Response to the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean Tsunami Disasters

Since the time of the last E-Journal special issue (Volume 4 Number 12a (December 27, 2004), the IUGG Union Commission on Geophysical Risk and Sustainability (GeoRisk), in cooperation with the IAPSO/IASPEI/IAVCEI Tsunami Commission, has written a statement including a list of recommendations for further analysis. The Statement (both short and full versions) has been placed on the web-page of the GeoRisk Commission

Subsequently, the IUGG Bureau adopted a Resolution based on this document. It has been sent to the UN Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) that is hosting the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe Japan from 18-22 January. Tom Beer, IUGG Vice President and Past Chair of the GeoRisk Commission will attend the Conference. The text of the Resolution is given below.

The regular 1 January 2005 issue of the IUGG E-Journal named a web site containing information about the physical events underlying the disaster assembled by Dr. V.K. Gusiakov:

Another web site including wave animations and propagation times modeled by K. Satake can be found at We understand that various of the IUGG Associations and their components are working on appropriate aspects of this problem in order that the risks can be understood and policies established that will mitigate the consequences of these natural geophysical events.


Whereas, A magnitude 9 great earthquake that occurred on 26 December 2004 off the west coast of northern Sumatra, South Asia, triggered tsunamis that inundated the coastal zones around the Indian Ocean resulting in tragic and historic loss of life and property;

The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG)

Recognizing, That tsunami warning systems in the Pacific Ocean have proved to be effective over several decades; and

Noting, That existing technology such as Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR) observations for topography, real-time monitoring of marine activity, satellite observations from space, and natural hazard prediction models (e.g., tsunami propagation models) could prevent loss of life if predictions were timely and warnings were heeded; and 2. That the economic impact of natural disasters exceeds the cost of mitigation; and 3. That in the aftermath of a natural disaster, existing technology could provide rescue agencies and civil defense managers immediate quantitative estimates of the extent and severity of the disaster; and 4. That the reduction of predictive uncertainty is the most important scientific agenda in natural hazards reduction;

Recommends, That systems and procedures be prescribed for early warning, public awareness, regional evacuation routes and shelters based on charts of natural hazards, vulnerability, and risk assessments; and 2. That regional disaster management centers be established where they do not now exist to catalog information on the population and infrastructure at risk, and to monitor land, ocean and atmosphere in relation to all kinds of natural hazards; and 3. That regional tsunami warning systems be set up in order to generate and disseminate timely and accurate information needed by decision makers and the public; and 4. That multidisciplinary and multinational research programs and research networks on geophysical hazards and risks be developed to integrate diverse data streams, to improve understanding of the natural phenomena associated with the disasters, and to develop predictive modeling capability; and

Resolves, To promote the development and application of scientific expertise and experience in modeling and visualization of physical, technological, biological and social processes and their implications to the mitigation of natural disasters; and 2. To share this critical information to the greatest extent possible with government officials, emergency planners, the insurance industry, policy makers, and the public.

This short, informal newsletter is intended to keep IUGG Member National Committees informed about the activities of the IUGG Associations, and actions of the IUGG Secretariat. Past issues are posted on the IUGG Web site. Your comments are welcome.

End of IUGG Electronic Journal Volume 5 Number 1a (January 11, 2005)
J. A. Joselyn, Secretary General  [ ], fax:  1 303 497 3645.