Maldives Meteorological Service

Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness

Earthquake

An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves. These waves travel through the earth and can be detected by seismometers. Humans also can feel it depending on the magnitude of the event. The main cause of earthquakes is the movement in the fault lines of the tectonic plates.

Tusnami

A tsunami is a series of waves in a body of water caused by the displacement of a large volume of water in an ocean. The causes of a tsunami are earthquakes, landslides or a meteorite impact with the ocean. Earthquakes are the main cause of tsunami but not every earthquake can cause a tsunami. It depends on other conditions like the magnitude of the earthquake, depth and the type of fault where the earthquake occurred.

A tsunami consists of more than one wave, the first wave might not be the strongest one. A tsunami wave can travel in the ocean unnoticed, but as it moves towards the shallow water, the wave length and the speed of the wave decreases, but the height of the wave increases. This is the reason why islands with larger lagoon area are more prone to the tsunami.

Alert Levels

Alert 1 (White)

This is issued for earthquakes with magnitude >7.0 in the Indian Ocean ring. This is issued as an advisory. Make sure to check if it’s an ocean wide tsunami or a local tsunami.

Alert 2 (yellow)

This is issued for earthquakes with a possibility of an ocean wide tsunami.

If a yellow alert is issued, keep checking on the local news and our social media, the latest news will be always updated on them by Maldives Meteorological Service.

  • Make sure to have a first aid kit ready with snacks and water
  • Gather a few clothes and a blanket
  • Keep your identity cards and some cash with you
  • Senior citizens and children ready for the emergency situation

Alert 3 (Red)

Red alert will be issued for a confirmed ocean wide tsunami in the Indian Ocean ring and will affect the Maldives islands. MMS will inform the tsunami travel time to the public via public media and social networks. Take all the safety precautions and evacuate disaster prone islands if possible.

Safety measurements to be taken:

  • Do NOT panic
  • Go to a high, strong concrete building with your safety kit (first aid kit, snacks, water and few clothes)
  • Leave the first two floors empty
  • If there are no high buildings, move in to the ocean on boats and wait till the warning is cancelled or tsunami approaches.
  • Priority is your own safety; do not carry house hold items with you
  • Special attention is given to senior citizens, children and women
  • If you are in school, follow the advice given by the school management
  • Stay away from the beaches until the warning is cancelled by MMS
  • If you are in the open sea and gets the tsunami warning, remain in the open sea, DO NOT return to the lagoon, the ideal depth of the water at which the boat stays should be about 400m.
  • It’s also dangerous to take your boats out to the sea when it is closer to the tsunami arrival time

Tsunami Arrival

  • Seek advice from relevant authorities
  • When the water in the harbor is sucked in to the ocean, that is the final warning given before the first tsunami wave
  • Local councils, National Disaster Management, MNDF and Police will aid you in every possible way, please corporate with them.