Germany seeks role in quake warning system

10th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 January 2005, BERLIN - Germany aims to seek a leading role in efforts to improve the globe's international earthquake early warning system, with the geophysical research centre GFZ in Potsdam being commissioned to carry out the work. The Foreign Ministry indirectly confirmed reports that Germany wants to lead the way in international efforts. It was noted that in December, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had proposed to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that Germany host the third internation

10 January 2005

BERLIN - Germany aims to seek a leading role in efforts to improve the globe's international earthquake early warning system, with the geophysical research centre GFZ in Potsdam being commissioned to carry out the work.

The Foreign Ministry indirectly confirmed reports that Germany wants to lead the way in international efforts.

It was noted that in December, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had proposed to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that Germany host the third international conference on prevention of natural catastrophes. The meeting would be held in the second half of 2005, ministry undersecretary Klaus Scharioth said.

"The work of the institute (GFZ) in Potsdam will play a very large role in this," Scharioth said after a meeting of the German emergency group reviewing the situation in Asia.

He said the GFZ had been working many years in the area of earthquake early warning research and was "very much ahead" of other such research bodies.

"I can imagine that ahead of the conference everything will combine so that they will give Potsdam a very active role," Scharioth said.

According to a report in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Science and Technology Research Minister Edelgard Bulman has asked the Potsdam-based GFZ to develop plans for an early warning system.

"We can have a functioning early warning system in place in one to three years' time with our concept," Bulman told the paper.

The paper said the GFZ work is initially to focus on an early warning system for the Indian Ocean, where the devastating quake of occurred on 26 December, with early warning systems then to be set up for the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

"The Greek and Turkish coasts are also highly-endangered earthquake regions," Bulman told the paper.

The GFZ operates its own seismological research unit and has 50 monitoring stations around the world. It also cooperates closely with such centres in other countries.

The GFZ currently has only a few stations in the Indian Ocean. Under the German plans, the GFZ would establish 30 to 40 new monitoring stations in the region as part of an effort with other donor countries to set up around 250 stations.

Scharioth, in his daily briefing about the relief work in Asia and the search for German victims, said that by latest count the number of Germans reported missing had decreased by eight to 716. But he said that the final official figure was expected to be higher.

Unofficial calculations by relief experts put the number of missing Germans at more than 1,000.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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