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Indonesia plans 500 sirens to warn of tsunamis

The Indonesian government will install a 500-siren system as part of a tsunami warning system for coastal residents. The $143 million project will be installed on cellular phone towers this year, a senior official said Tuesday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Indonesian government will install 500 sirens on cellular phone towers this year as part of a tsunami warning system for coastal residents, a senior official said Tuesday.

The $143 million project, announced after a July 17 tsunami killed at least 600 people, should reach people in a 2-mile radius, said State Minister for Communication and Information Sofyan Djalil.

The government also ordered all radio and TV stations to relay tsunami warnings in their broadcasts.

The sirens, operated by the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, will issue alarms following an earthquake capable of triggering a deadly tsunami.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

The December 2004 Asian tsunami killed more than 213,000 people — some 130,000 in Indonesia. The government has come under pressure to build a warning system, but the implementation has been stalled by technical setbacks and poor funding.