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Latino Daily News

Sunday September 9, 2012

El Salvador Utilizing Ocean Monitors to Prevent Natural Disasters

El Salvador Utilizing Ocean Monitors to Prevent Natural Disasters

Photo: El Salvador

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El Salvador’s Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has installed two oceanographic stations in the Pacific to monitor waves and currents, allowing the country to be better prepared for potential disasters, officials said.

The government “has installed two wave and current measurement systems. The information provided by this equipment will allow us to reduce the loss of human life and damage to dwellings and businesses along the coast,” Environment and Natural Resources Ministry oceanographer Francisco Gavidia said.

“They are going to allow us to improve forecasts ... of threats from extreme waves, unusual waves, that flood and damage infrastructure along the coast,” Gavidia told Radio Nacional.

One of the stations is six kilometers (3.7 miles) from La Union, a port city located 183 kilometers (114 miles) southeast of San Salvador, and the other is two kilometers (1.2 miles) outside of Acajutla, a port city in the western province of Sonsonate, the ministry said in a statement.

The oceanographic stations join two wave monitors installed in the ports to measure sea levels, the ministry said.

Each station has a sensor at a depth of 20 meters (65 feet) connected by underwater cable to a buoy equipped with solar panels and a special transmitter to send information to scientists on land, the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry said.

El Salvador is the first country in Latin America to have permanent oceanographic monitoring stations in the Pacific.

Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile use similar equipment but operate the units for short periods of time only.