The Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 resulted in over 230,000 casualties and the displacement of over 1 million people in coastal communities around the Indian Ocean making it the most destructive tsunami in history. Recognising the need for a tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean region, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) was established in 2005 as a primary subsidiary body of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), with the objective to mitigate the hazard posed by local and distant tsunamis in all parts of the Indian Ocean.
After several years of international cooperation and development coordinated by the IOC-UNESCO, the IOTWMS became fully operational on 31 March 2013 when the Tsunami Service Providers (TSPs) of Australia, India and Indonesia assumed full responsibility for the provision of tsunami advisory services for the Indian Ocean region.
The Secretariat of the ICG/IOTWMS was established in 2005 at the Perth Programme Office in support of IOC-UNESCO and has been funded and hosted by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) since 2005. The Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC) is based in Jakarta, Indonesia and has been funded and hosted by the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) since 2014. In 2005, IOC-UNESCO coordinated missions to 16 Indian Ocean Member States to identify capacity building requirements for an effective and durable tsunami warning and mitigation system in the Indian Ocean. The 2005 capacity assessment report provided a regional overview of existing capacity and identified support requirements of Member States to build regional capacity in tsunami warning and mitigation.
Recognising the importance of conducting an up-todate capacity assessment of tsunami preparedness in the Indian Ocean 13 years after the first survey, the ICG/ IOTWMS at its 11th session (Putrajaya, Malaysia, April 2017) established a Task Team on Capacity Assessment of Tsunami Preparedness (TT-CATP). The Task Team designed and conducted an online survey covering all aspects of the end-to-end tsunami warning and mitigation system. Twenty ICG/IOTWMS Member States provided inputs to the assessment. The capacity assessment status report provides a baseline of the current status of tsunami preparedness capacity in the region, identifies specific gaps and prioritises capacity development requirements at both the regional and national levels.
Together with the IOTWMS Medium Term Strategy 2019-2024 and the IOTWMS 2019 Factsheet , the capacity assessment status report provides an overview of the governance and structure of the IOTWMS; details of its detection, warning and dissemination systems; the status of current capacity in end-to-end tsunami warning and mitigation; and an outline of the strategic objectives, plans and activities for the IOTWMS up to 2024.