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NAME OF RESEARCH PROJECT: Design and Planning of Tsunami Warning and Evacuation Systems

FUNDING AGENCY: NSERC

STUDENT RESEARCHER: Sanjeewa Wickramaratne

Level of the project: PhD

SUPERVISOR AND CO-SUPERVISORS: Dr. S.C. Wirasinghe, Dr. J.Y. Ruwanpura

START DATE: September 1, 2009

END DATE: June 7, 2010 (Convocation: November 2010)

DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT:

The massive and unprecedented destruction caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami opened up a whole new arena to explore natural disasters in the context of “disaster risk management”. A proper early warning mechanism leading to successful evacuation prevents such catastrophes and thus emphasizes the necessity of a concrete framework for disaster preparedness planning for the Indian Ocean. Hence, this research aimed at developing and assessing a sustainable tsunami warning and evacuation mechanism with an emphasis on Sri Lanka: the second most affected country in the 2004 mega tsunami event.
This research successfully models the tsunami warning and evacuation (TWE) activities from the genesis of an earthquake up to the completion of evacuation. A novel approach of network modeling with simulation is showcased, which provides stochastical results of the time consumption of each of the constituting activities and the whole TWE process. The Sri Lankan national warning and evacuation process exemplifies the selected methodology with data have been obtained through interviews and discussions with expert professionals. The simulation further assists in determining the adequacy of the existing TWE provisions at both international and national levels.
The research is particularly cognizant of probable scenarios for Sri Lanka, inclusive of nighttime and west coast tsunamis. Illustrative comparisons of such scenarios with the status quo, demonstrate the extra vulnerability of the current systems in place. Furthermore, the research individually models failures of the key stakeholders of the TWE process and quantifies the consequences with respect to delays in warning and evacuation.

The second stage of the study elucidates a decision analysis exercise performed to select an optimal tsunami detection mechanism for Sri Lanka out of two alternatives: a tide gauge and a buoy system. During the process, many scenarios that are traditionally not studied have been addressed and quantified. In particular, the probabilities of tsunami detection in the proposed systems and, the costs and probabilities of evacuations and false warnings are determined for the first time from the Sri Lankan perspective. The study concludes with the complete set of guidelines for each of the stakeholder institutions for streamlined functionality.

The very introduction of network modeling for disasters and the presented success story, with respect to tsunamis, have already lead to ramifications in other types of disaster modeling, such as tornadoes.

PUBLICATIONS:




Peer Reviewed Journal Papers




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Decision Analysis for a Tsunami Detection System for Day/Night and Sunda Trench/Makran Fault Earthquake Scenarios – Case Study: Sri Lanka, Journal of Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, (Submitted Jan 2011).




  1. Ruwanpura, J., Wickramaratne, S., Braun, A. & Wirasinghe, S.C., Planning and Modelling for Mitigation of Tsunami Impacts, Journal of Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, 26(2),2009, 195-209. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10286600802435835.

Peer Reviewed Full Conference Papers




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Assessment of the Adequacy of Tsunami Warning and Evacuation Systems through Network Simulation, Proc. of the 105th Annual Sessions, The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL),Sri Lanka, October 15 - 22,2011 (accepted).



  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Sustainable Tsunami Warning & Evacuation Mechanism for Sri Lanka, Proc. of International Conference on Building Resilience, Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka, July 19 – 21, 2011.





  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Analysis of Plans for Tsunami Related Evacuations in Sri Lanka, Proc. of the 3rd WFEO-JFES-JSCE Joint International Symposium on Disaster Risk Management, Fukuoka, Japan. Sep 3, 2009, 71-77.




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Risk Assessment and Modelling for Tsunamis: A Case Study in Sri Lanka, Proc. of the 3rd Coastal, Estuarine and Offshore Speciality Conference by Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), Newfoundland, Canada. May 27-30, 3, 2009, 1636-1645.




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Estimating Probability Density Functions For Tsunami Evacuation Activity Durations From Expert Panel Interviews, Proc. of the 2nd WFEO-JFES-JSCE Joint International Symposium on Disaster Risk Management*, Sendai, Japan: Sep 11,2008, 136-139.


*Initial version of this paper was published in the Proc. of the International Symposium: International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction (IIIRR), University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada. April 10-11.
Thesis

  1. Wickramaratne, S., Design and Planning of Tsunami Warning and Evacuation Systems, PhD thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, 2010 (Supervisor: Dr. S.C. Wirasinghe, Co-supervisor: Dr. J. Ruwanpura)


Abstract Reviewed Conference Papers

  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J.Y., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Network Modelling for Reliability Assessment of Tsunami Warning and Evacuation Systems, Proc. of the International Conference on Disaster Mitigation (ICDM), Institute of Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction (IIIRR), University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, Nov 15-16, 2010.




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J.Y., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Tsunami Mitigation Planning For Sri Lanka– A Decision Theoretic Approach, Proc. of the International Conference on Disaster Mitigation (ICDM), Institute of Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction (IIIRR), University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, Nov 15-16, 2010.




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J.Y., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Failure Modelling of Tsunami Warning and Evacuation Systems, Proc. of the International Conference on Disaster Mitigation (ICDM), Institute of Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction (IIIRR), University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, Nov 15-16, 2010.




  1. Wickramaratne, S., Ruwanpura, J.Y., & Wirasinghe, S.C., Estimation of Probability Density Functions for Disaster Mitigation Activities, Proc. of the International Conference on Mitigation of the Risk of Natural Hazards, Ahungalla, Sri Lanka, July 2-4, 2009.



  1. Ruwanpura, J.Y., Wirasinghe, S.C., Wickramaratne, S., & Ranasinghe, U. , Formulation of a Pro-active Planning Model to Mitigate the Impact of the Most Vulnerable Hazards/Disasters in Sri Lanka, Proc. of the International Conference on Mitigation of the Risk of Natural Hazards, Ahungalla, Sri Lanka, July 2-4, 2009.





  1. Weerasinghe, I.P.T., Ruwanpura, J.Y., & Wickramaratne, S., The Level of Recoverability of Tsunami Affected People In Sri Lanka After a Period of Two Years, Proc. of the International Symposium, International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction (IIIRR), University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, April 10-11, 2008.




  1. Ruwanpura, J.Y., Wickramaratne, S., Braun, A., Hettiarachchi, S.S.L. & Wirasinghe, S.C., Analysis and Comparison of Tsunami Warning Systems for Sri Lanka, Proc. of the International Conference on Mitigation of the Risk of Natural Hazards, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, March 27-28, 2007.





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