17 December 2008

Singapore safe from tsunamis

Computer simulations found that Singapore would be minimally affected by a tsunami generated by an earthquake.
From Straits Times PDF.

The study found that it would take an earthquake, in Indonesian or Philippine waters, measuring about 9.0 on the Richter scale to generate a tsunami powerful enough to reach Singapore. Even then, it would take 10 hours before the first waves hit. The waves would be no more than 0.7m above the average sea level, reaching no more than 50m inland and at speeds of half a metre per second - slower than the speed of a normal tide, which is 1m to 2m per second

The shallow waters and land masses around Singapore protect the island from the effects of any tsunami, said Mr Foong Chee Leong, the director-general of NEA's meteorological services.

Even during the 2004 earthquake, there was no record of a rise in Singapore's sea level, he said.

Six Singapore beaches were identified as potential risk areas: West Coast Park, Labrador Park, Sentosa, the Southern Islands, East Coast Park and Pasir Ris Park.

But these areas pose a limited threat because the nearest residential area from the coastline is about 80m inland and any built- up area was constructed at least 1.25m above the highest tide level of about 1.5m above the average sea level here, said Mr Foong.

Dean of NTU's college of engineering, Professor Pan Tso-Chien, said the only worry would be people on the beach.

"Those in the sea would feel like they are riding a wave, bobbing up and down," he said.

"The waves, by the time they hit the beach would be less than 1m high, at very low speeds, and (they) wouldn't be able to cause any destruction."

But the public has little to fear.

“Over the years, much of Singapore’s shoreline has undergone coastal hardening and is protected by sea walls and other reinforcement,” said an NEA spokesman.

“Most of Singapore’s industrial buildings and residences are built in areas which are elevated well above high tide levels. Hence, it is very unlikely for residences along Elias Road, Loyang Besar and the industrial buildings along Loyang Crescent will be affected by a tsunami.”

Nonetheless, in the event of a tsunami, a Tsunami Response Plan has been developed by the NEA, with the cooperation of relevant agencies like the Singapore Police Force, Maritime Port Authority, Jurong Town Corporation and Sentosa Development Corporation.

Full articles on the wildsingapore news blog.

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