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Cablegate: Colombo Response to Tsunami, Earthquake Warnings

VZCZCXRO2362
PP RUEHPB RUEHVK
DE RUEHLM #0825 1621134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111134Z JUN 07 CCY2
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6222
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1059
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 3204
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0601
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2969
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0018
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 0001
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0007
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0968
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0103
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0038
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0013
RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN 0053
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0039
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
RUEHFR/USMISSION UNESCO PARIS
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000825

SIPDIS

AIDAC

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/ES-O
DEPT FOR EB/IFD/ODF
DEPT FOR OES/FO, OES/IET/ETC/OA/EGC, OES/OA
DEPT FOR A/MED, IO AND INR/GGI/HIU
USDA FAS WASHDC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TPHY AORC EAID AMGT CASC AMGT
SUBJECT: COLOMBO RESPONSE TO TSUNAMI, EARTHQUAKE WARNINGS

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y -- ADDED TEXT PARA 3 & ADDRESSEES

REF: State 54475

1. Per reftel, Embassy Colombo provides the following responses to
listed questions.

2. Question: Does a duty officer or Mission Disaster Relief Officer
(and alternate MDRO) receive tsunami and earthquake warnings on a
24-hour basis from the Ops Center or other service?

--Response: To date, the State Department Operations Center has not
contacted Embassy Duty Officer with earthquake or tsunami warnings.
Our Consular American Citizen Services Office has registered with
the USGS earthquake warning alert system, and would receive warnings
by e-mail from the USGS within 10-30 minutes of an earthquake with
potential tsunami effects. The USGS information, which is sent in
English, provides critical information regarding the distance from
the earthquake's epicenter to major population areas in Sri Lanka.

3. Question: How does the Embassy respond to the information that it
receives from the warning notification?

--Response: The U.S. Mission in Sri Lanka has a response plan. The
Duty Officer would be the initial point of contact for this
information from the Operations Center. The Duty Officer would
convey the information to the DCM and Mission Disaster Relief
Officer (USAID Director). If the magnitude is small with little
chance of a tsunami (under 6.0), the Mission Disaster Relief Officer
would not take further action; if the magnitude is larger than 6.0
or if a tsunami were likely to result from an earthquake, then the
Mission Disaster Relief Officer would report the warning to the U.S.
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) Regional Advisor. The
Mission Disaster Relief Officer would also provide an initial
assessment to the Embassy Front Office, Regional Security Officer,
Management Officer, Defense Attache, and Consular Section. If an
earthquake or tsunami of a significant magnitude were to occur close
to a major Sri Lankan population center, the Consular Section would
immediately contact American citizens in the impacted area to
determine if any were in need of assistance. In addition, the
Defense Attache/Embassy would convey information contained in the
warning notificaton to the Sri Lankan Defense Secretary and would
coordinate with PACOM if the earthquake or tsunami were of
significant magnitude to warrant consideration of U.S. military
assistance. The mission would also convey the warning notification
to the GSL's Ministry of Disaster Management.

4. Is there additional information that could be supplied with the
warning that would improve the ability of the Embassy to
respond/react?

--Response: Yes. It would be helpful to receive any available
estimates on the possible areas to be impacted by the event, with
particular emphasis on the locations a tsunami might hit.

BLAKE

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