6 November 2019 – The South China Sea Tsunami
Advisory Center (SCSTAC) became fully operational
on 5 November, the World Tsunami Awareness Day.
The Centre will add to the already existing 10
centers that are part of the Global Tsunami
Warning System of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
The primary mission of SCSTAC is to provide
timely advisories on potentially destructive
tsunamis to officially designated National
Tsunami Warning Centers (NTWCs) and Tsunami
Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) in Brunei
(Negara Brunei Darussalam), Cambodia,
People's Republic of China, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Geologically, the South China Sea is located between
the convergences of the Earth’s largest tectonic
plates (Eurasia, Indo-Australia and Pacific-Philippine
Sea plates), thus identified as tsunami prone
due to the high seismicity.
SCSTAC is the newest addition to the Pacific
Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, the
oldest and largest regional tsunami program.
This system provides Tsunami alerts to Pacific
countries and territories via the Pacific
Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) hosted by the
United States, and the Northwest Pacific
Tsunami Advisory Center (NWPTAC) hosted by Japan.
SCSTAC is hosted by the National Marine Environmental
Forecasting Center of China and supported by China
Earthquake Administration that monitors earthquakes
from 116 seismic stations available within the region.
“The South China Sea Tsunami Advisory Center is a
new example of China’s contributions to not only
the objectives of the United Nations Decade of
Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and
Sustainable Development Goal 14, but also to
the well-being and security of humans”, said
Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of
UNESCO’s IOC during the celebration of 5 November.
Increasing communities’ resilience to tsunamis
and other ocean-related hazards is one of the
main areas of work of UNESCO’s IOC and will be
one of the priority areas for transformative
research and development during the United
Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable
“Saving lives and protecting the livelihoods
of communities at risk of tsunami requires
sustained investment in resilient infrastructure,
early warning systems and education”, declared
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General to mark
World Tsunami Awareness Day, established by the
United Nations General Assembly in 2015 to
develop and promote a global culture of
The Tsunami Programme of UNESCO’s IOC coordinates
national and regional tsunami early warning services,
raising global awareness about effective actions,
policies and practices to reduce exposure to
Tsunami risks in the Pacific, Indian Ocean,
Caribbean, North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean
and Connected Sea regions. The IOC also assists
Member States through education programmes and
regular tsunami communication and evacuation
exercises, increasing resilience among citizens
and communities around the world.