Indonesia is taking steps in anticipating a massive earthquake of measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, better known as "mega thrust", off southwest West Sumatra province that potentially triggers strong tsunamis.
Based on analysis by international and local experts, a subduction zone of the Indo Australia plate on the Mentawai Islands is still moving to find its balance.
When it happens, a big vertical fracture will rock the Sumatra Island and could generate 6-10-meter tsunami in 20-25 minutes afterward about 2-5 kilometers from the coastal line. Tsunami could occur several times.
There are 1.3 millions of people living across the west coast of West Sumatra who need more than 40 minutes to reach higher grounds.
The experts divide the Sumatra Island in imaginary segments that separate the island into several parts.
"The parts had been rocked by massive earthquakes measuring 7.9 to 8.9 on the Richter scale in 2000 to 2007, such as the 9.2- magnitude Aceh earthquake in December 2004 that triggered a strong tsunami and killed hundreds of thousand of people," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of the Data Center, Information and Public Relations at the National Agency of Disaster Management (BNPB).
However, experts have predicted that the strong earthquake could influence the subduction balance system that could trigger the 8.9-magnitude mega thrust.
To anticipate the mega thrust, the BNPB is cooperating with related ministries and institutions, universities, international bodies such as the United Nations and the World Bank, institutions of Germany, the United States and Australia, as well as international NGOs, among others, said Nugroho.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made instructions for the formulation of the Master Plan of Earthquake and Tsunami Management.
One of the details in the master plan concerns the construction of vertical shelters such as anti-quake buildings, crossing bridge and mosques as well as man-made hills.
The master plan is expected to be completed in the next 1-2 months.
"We need 3-5 trillion rupiah (about 327 million to 530 million U.S. dollars) in 2013-2015 for the infrastructure, including a tsunami early warning system," said Nugroho, adding that several units of the infrastructure are already finished.
Indonesia also plans to conduct an international search and rescue exercise in May, while strengthening equipment, logistics and disaster management.
In non-structural development, the BNPB is active in conducting exercise of disaster anticipation, socializing disaster education, growing local wisdom, and composing building code on anti-quake houses, among others.
"We are racing with time as the mega thrust could happen anytime," said Nugroho.
A total of 1,712 small and big tsunamis were recorded between 1629 and 2012, according to BNPB data.