DEWS Project Provides Advance Warnings before Tsunami Events

May 6, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

If there is one natural disaster that gives us weak knees, it indeed is the tsunami.  This highly destructive phenomenon was quite unpredictable until a few years back.

But that unpredictability has changed a lot, especially with the new DEWS (Distant Early Warning System) project.

DEWS can detect a tsunami before they occur, thus enabling people to evacuate the areas that come under the danger zone. The advance warning gives people time to prepare and leave, like how the tourists and resident of Hawaii, last year, were able to reach safer ground when warnings were sounded.


The DEWS project took root after the tragic tsunami event of 2004 that rocked the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. Four important inter-related elements of effective Early Warning Systems (EWS) were identified by the ‘United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’ (UN/ISDR), and these are risk knowledge, monitoring and warning service, dissemination and communication, and response capability.

The DEWS project worked to provide warning messages that could be developed at a rapid pace and delivered to the concerned authorities and to the people in the danger area. Moreover, international communication, between the countries that lie in the danger zone, would serve to provide mutual warnings.

The DEWS project, led by José-Fernando Esteban Lauzán, head of innovation at Atos Origin, in Spain, has EU-funding of EUR 6.1 million. Twenty partners of the research consortium include public and private organisations from many EU Member States and  Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan and New Zealand.

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