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October 23, 2022

"The Project for Enhancing the Capacity of Issuing earthquake, Tsunami and Storm Surge Information (VAN-Redi)" Rehabilitation of Tide Observation Station and Installation of Tsunami Watch Camera

Hiroyuki Ichijo (Mr.)
Senior Engineer
Japan Meteorological Business Support Center

JICA Van-REDI Project ( the project for enhancing the capacity of issuing earthquake, tsunami and storm surge information) has 2 crucial sites of tide observation stations which have been suspended due to the damage of cyclone as well as the aging. In order to tackle these issues, Van-REDI team has been to the Litz Litz tide observation station in Malekula Island which is one of 2 sites, and has implemented the rehabilitation of tide observation station and installation of tsunami watch camera from 2nd to 7th October 2022.

To implement these works, counterparts' cooperation is essential. This is not only for the smooth site work but also sharing technics and skills of practical work in term of operation and mainte-nance after the installation. The main focus was to share the difficulties and the reality of time management which they can only understand in the field work but not from the manuals, that was why the collaboration work was done instead of one way technical transfer. In this time, 2 counterparts from Vanuatu Meteorological Ge-hazard Division (VMGD) joined the site work, one was a senior staff with much experience and another was a new staff (from Malekula) with high technical potential.

Learning from "There was no success without careful preparations" the OJT (On the Job Train-ing) was carried out for assembling, connection and the functional check using the actual equipment in the VMGD headquarters in the capital, Port Vila on 15th and 16th on September while getting the remote cooperation of the company that produced and supplied the equipment. By this OJT, the team could consider how to raise local work efficiency and could prepare the necessary spare materials, which lead the success of site work.

PhotoScene of OJT at VMGD HQ

As work at the Litz Litz tide observation station located at Lat. 16.1 degrees S is a fight with the physical strength consumption by the heat, drinking water was crucial. Each member has drunk 2ℓ of mineral water.

Replacing 6 batteries with 35 kg each under the hot weather, replacing the tide sensor under the downpour, and laying the antenna cables under the strong wind, the weather was not helpful for the team but the whole rehabilitation work was completed within 3 days as planned.

PhotoScene of Tide gauge rehabilitation (changing the tide sensor)

PhotoScene of Tide gauge rehabilitation (changing the sensor cable)

PhotoScene of installing Tsunami watch camera

PhotoLitz Litz tide observation station after all work completed

The installation of tsunami watch camera on 5.5 m pole was almost given up because of the preliminary construction defect of concrete base of pole/pedestal. However, there was the con-venience arrangement of the local electric power company and it carried out on the fourth day. There was a full of difficulties including the use of alternative materials, the repair of the con-crete base of pole/pedestal, etc. but thanks to the patience of 2 counterparts especially their per-formance without minding high place work for a long time and the physical capacity to do so, the installation was completed as planned. It was almost a miracle. The young counterpart took some photos after the installation, that looked like he was satisfied with the result of his own work and was felling his accomplishment.

The result of this site work was confirmed immediately.

For the result of the rehabilitation of the tide level observation, the team informed the Japan Meteorological Agency of operational resumption at 02:50UTC on 5th October, and confirmed the data transmission via the meteorological satellite "HIMAWARI", also confirmed that the data was published in the Web site of the UNESCO/IOC.

PhotoImage of UNESCO/IOC web page

For the result of the tsunami watch camera installation, VMGD headquarters can now monitor the shorelines from a wharf to a supersonic sensor regardless of the day and night, and can also monitor tsunami and the storm surge.

PhotoView of Tsunami watch camera (day)

PhotoView of Tsunami watch camera (night)

Mr. Montin Romone, the director, VMGD commented "I strongly believe that the revised SOP will make VMGD to issue Tsunami warning information promptly and properly. It is very im-portant that VMGD staff continue holding the in-house training by themselves to enhance their capacity as well as to improve the SOP."

Van-REDI project has another tide observation station in Lenakel, Tanna Island, to recover the function (rehabilitation) and to install the tsunami watch camera as same as this Litz Litz site. The team is now planning to visit Lenakel early next year and complete all works for tide obser-vation stations.


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