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  Channel NewsAsia 16 Jan 06
Singapore unlikely to be hit by a tsunami: Yaacob
By Hasnita A Majid

SINGAPORE : The government has assured Singaporeans the island is unlikely to be hit by a tsunami in future.

This is because of the country's geographical position and the relatively shallow waters in the Malacca Straits and South China Sea.

The December 2004 tsunami had caused concern that if the epicentre of an earthquake in future move northwards, it would provide a more direct route for a possible tsunami to hit Singapore.

This is unlikely, says Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim. Said Dr Yaacob, "Simulations conducted by renowned institutes and agencies in the US, France, Denmark and Japan on that tsunami incidence have verified that the Straits of Malacca is not deep enough to sustain tsunamis for long distances."

Dr Yaacob says other experts have also supported the view that Singapore is not likely to be hit by a quake-driven tsunami in the Northern Andaman Sea.

Still, he says the Metereological Services Division of the National Environment Agency has been developing a tsunami monitoring and early warning system as part of the Indian Ocean Warning System for the region.

It is also enhancing its local monitoring system for timely detection of earthquakes.

At the regional level, the department is working with its ASEAN counterparts to share earthquake and sea-level monitoring data to identify any tsunami affecting the region.

Dr Yaacob says this is to provide some lead time for emergency measures if necessary. By year's end, the department will set up a 24-hour tsunami and earthquake warning centre. - CNA /ct

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