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. Indonesia, Thailand given prompt warning of undersea quake: nuclear test watchdog
VIENNA (AFP) Jan 06, 2005
Indonesia and Thailand were warned almost immediately of the massive undersea earthquake last month that sparked deadly tsunamis across the Indian Ocean, an official of the body set up to monitor nuclear tests said Thursday.

"The raw data from our sensors was transmitted in the moments that followed the earthquake to a number of national centres, including those of Indonesia and Thailand," Bernhard Wrabetz, a spokesman for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), told AFP.

"But it is not known what those centres did with the data, which can only be interpreted by specialists," he added.

The Vienna-based CTBTO has a network of sensors across the world, which were set up to detect any nuclear tests that violate the 1966 treaty but also monitor natural seismic activity.

"Our mission is not to detect earthquakes and tsunamis, but we want to adapt our system so that it can also function to this end," with a specific alert capacity, Wrabetz added.

The giant waves sparked by the quake off Sumatra hit Indonesia within 30 minutes and Thailand half an hour later, killing more than 90,000 and more than 5,000 people respectively. The failure to give a warning sparked a row in Thailand, where many foreign tourists were among the victims.

The Thai government announced last week it would set up an inquiry into why the public was not alerted.

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