DisasterAWARE Platform Used by National Disaster Warning Center–Thailand
Information and communications technologies can help disaster managers quickly access, contextualize, and apply near real-time information, improving the speed and effectiveness of critical actions like warning populations at risk. At the time of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, few countries in the affected region had leveraged early warning and decision support tools. The tsunami impacted the coasts of Africa and South Asia, and caused catastrophic damage to six island nations. Along the west coast of Thailand, the tsunami resulted thousands of fatalities and crippled the local economy. The country had no early warning system for the tsunami hazard.
Following the tsunami, Thai officials created the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) to improve tsunami and earthquake warnings. NDWC, with funding from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), contracted PDC to help automate the flow of disaster information in support of early warning. The result was Thailand’s first multi-hazard early warning and decision support tool, based on the DisasterAWARE platform.
Following deployment of the NDWC system, PDC provided extensive training on the operational use of the system and supported scenario-based exercises that simulated receipt of messages, triggering of sirens, and practicing of evacuation procedures. Through the system, disaster managers in Thailand now receive timely and relevant earthquake and tsunami information, can visualize the hazard information and better estimate potential impacts, and can more effectively issue warnings to local residents.