The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) is working on implementing a Multi-Hazard Early Warning System in the sultanate. The project follows Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said after the December 2004 tsunami, and the cyclones that hit Oman in 2007 and 2010.
In a media statement, Dr Juma bin Said al Maskari, the assistant director general of meteorology and air navigation for meteorological affairs at PACA said that the project has nine stages. One of them is setting up seven sea level monitoring stations next to waves and ocean currents radars after a field survey. Ten GPS stations to accurately read changes in sea level will also be set up.
Dr Maskari said that some existing stations that are connected to SQU's seismological centre will be upgraded and linked to the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System. Upon completion of the project, the number of seismological centres in Oman will reach 21. Each of these centres will send data to the centre in SQU and the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System.
The system will alert decision makers and public in advance and thus help in preventing and mitigating impacts of a disaster. Skilled and experienced manpower, and hi-tech equipment are crucial for the working of the system, said Maskari.
He added that following the Royal Orders, a committee was formed with members from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, ROP and SQU to study setting up the early warning system. After the two-year study, it listed the project's scope of work and sought assistance from UNESCO on implementation.
UNESCO assigned the project to its wing, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
Oman's Council of Ministers assigned supervision of the project to PACA's Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation as it is the competent department, the media statement said.
The system will cover other natural disasters and environmental hazards and not just tsunamis threats.