TAWAU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah geologist Prof Dr Felix Tongkul has called for more tsunami sirens to be installed along the coast here due to the threats of seismic seawave from its location near to Indonesia and the Philippines.
He said he would bring the matter up to the Meteorological Department.
“If a tsunami is generated, it can reach Tawau in half an hour and the only preparation we have is the siren. There is only one, which is not enough.
“It is better to have the sirens at all places so everybody can hear the warning when a tsunami strikes,” he said after presenting a paper on “Tsunami Disaster in Tawau” in conjunction with a public education programme on Tawau Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster yesterday.
Earlier, when presenting the paper, Tongkul had said that, like earthquakes, it was hard to predict tsunamis.
“A tsunami can be produced along the Manila Trench, the Mindoro Trench, the Cotabato Trench in the Philippines as well as the North Sulawesi Trench in Indonesia while an underwater landslide can happen on the slopes of the Sabah seabed in the South China Sea,” he added.
A simulation, he said, showed that the tsunami waves could reach Sabah in between 30 and 120 minutes, lashing the shores with waves measuring between 1m and 5m-high.
On the tsunami threat in Tawau, he said it depended on the width of the seabed in Tawau as well as its distance from the tsunami source.
Tongkul also expressed the need for detailed mapping of high-risk areas to identify evacuation and escape routes.
He said a computer simulation to predict the arrival of a tsunami and the height of its waves – as well as distance from land, should be as accurate as possible. — Bernama