Skip to Content


Nepal’s Department of Mines and Geology firms up cooperation with RIMES on seismic risk assessment
12 May 2016

Nepal’s Department of Mines and Geology (DMG) firmed up today its cooperation with RIMES on earthquake risk assessment with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Represented by Mr. Sarbjit Prasad Mahato, Director General, DMG agreed to cooperate with RIMES on enhancing DMG capacity on real-time earthquake and crustal deformation monitoring and seismic risk assessment. The signing was witnessed by Mr. Rishiraj Koirala, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Nepal, Dr. Rajendra Bhadari, Superintendent Geologist, DMG, and Mr. Lok Bijaya Adikari, Chief, National Seismological Center, DMG.

Mr. Sarbjit Prasad Mahato, Director General, DMG and Mr. A.R. Subbiah, Director, RIMES exchange the signed Memorandum of Understanding

Mr. Sarbjit Prasad Mahato, Director General, DMG and Mr. A.R. Subbiah, Director, RIMES exchange the signed Memorandum of Understanding

Mr. A.R. Subbiah, Director, RIMES, stressed that this cooperation opens opportunities to assist Nepal in earthquake resilience. Mr. Mahato appreciated DMG cooperation with RIMES, particularly in light of the devastating impacts of last year’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Gorkha, near Kathmandu.

Advanced computer modeling and early warning systems as tools for disaster mitigation: 2015 International Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development Camp participants visit RIMES

Participants of the 2015 Asian Summer School International Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development Camp, jointly hosted by Chubu University, Japan, and Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, visited RIMES on 26 August 2015.


The 20 participants come from 9 different countries and diverse background (geoinformatics, economics, education, geography, international relations, etc.). They attended lectures and hands-on activities on geoinformatic technology applications in sustainable development, agriculture, the environment, and climate change. Site visits and field trips exposed participants on their practical applications.


The visit to RIMES allowed participants to learn and observe how geoinformatic technology, such as GIS and remote sensing technology, are used in hazard observation and forecasting, development of decision support systems for forecast-based impact assessment, and generation of locally relevant risk information.


Learn more about the Asian Summer School here.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water visited RIMES



Engineers from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water visited RIMES for an overview of available products and services, for setting up irrigation projects

The first batch of engineers from the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan visited RIMES Program Unit on 26 August 2015.


The visit was part of a 2-week training course, organized by Asian Institute of Technology, on “Feasibility Studies for Irrigation Projects”. RIMES’ Chief Scientist for Climate Applications, Dr. Govindarajalu Srinivasan, is one of the course’s resource persons. The course will run two more times in the next months, accommodating more engineers and program managers from MEW Afghanistan.


The course focuses on project identification, topographic surveys, mapping, geology, hydrology, hydro-geology, agronomy, drainage, and irrigation investigations. The RIMES visit provided an overview of RIMES’ products and services, exposed participants to early warning systems, and allowed them to understand how they can directly benefit from decision-support systems, such as the agro-advisory expert system.


MEW and RIMES found the visit profoundly useful, with potential for collaboration and engagement beyond the course.


Read about the course here.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water visited RIMES


Weaver in Sirajganj, Bangladesh received innovative voice flood warning messages on his mobile phone and saved livelihood assets worth USD 965 during the last monsoon season

In Bangladesh, the monsoon season puts up to a third of the country under water.  For weavers like Lal Chand Miah, with handlooms typically located on the ground, receiving early warning information is an absolute necessity in order to prevent financial losses from damages brought by rising floodwaters.


A pilot project, led by Deltares in partnership with HKV Consultants and with technical support from RIMES, allowed communities in Sirajganj to use their mobile phones to receive voice flood warning messages from the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), as well as send water level observations to FFWC via SMS.  The latter makes them active participants in the flood early warning system, and not just recipients of forecasts and warnings.  This initiative built on the CARE-supported project that RIMES implemented from 2012-2014, which expanded the geographical coverage of the CFAN 10-day flood forecasting model, delivered forecast and warning information to pilot communities via SMS, and built capacity of disaster management officials and communities in using these information and in making and recording water level observations.  Use of voice messages in the Bangla language for early warning was one of the key feedbacks received from these pilot communities.


Lal Chand Miah

Lal Chand Miah, handloom weaver from Ghorjan, Chowhali, Sirajganj

Trained gauge readers recorded water level observations five times a day, and sent these once daily by SMS to FFWC.  Observation data were assimilated into the forecast model, for generating water level forecasts in major river systems.  Forecasts and observation data were then interpreted to generate location-specific water level forecasts, which were then disseminated as voice messages with respect to current water levels, to 300 participants as direct recipients.  Voice messages were sent once a day during the flood season, and twice a day when current water level is above danger level and water level forecasts show a rising trend.  Community volunteers were trained in interpreting forecasts and responding to warnings.


Left: trained gauge reader; Middle: training of local NGOs on forecast interpretation; Right: training of community members on understanding and responding to forecasts and warnings

Left: trained gauge reader; Middle: training of local NGOs on forecast interpretation; Right: training of community members on understanding and responding to forecasts and warnings

Evaluation of the pilot project revealed that forecast and warning messages reached about 30,000 people in Rajapur and Ghorjan Unions (about 45% of combined population) as direct and indirect recipients (through people who directly received the messages).  Of these, 80% were found to have understood the messages.  Recipients took appropriate actions in response to these messages, such as moving livelihood assets to higher ground, harvesting early, or delaying planting.  This led to savings (in terms of avoidable damages) at an average of USD 472 per household.  Savings were highest in households engaged in fishery at USD 768, followed by those engaged in livestock rearing at USD 678 and in crop production at USD 640.  Demand for increased frequency in message delivery and at specific time of the day to enable response was also noted.


Abu Sayeed, fisherman, Rajapur, Belkuchi.  Abu saved his hatchery worth USD 2,500 due to early flood warning, by enclosing his pond with net to prevent fish from being washed away.


Left: Abu Sayeed, fisherman, Rajapur, Belkuchi.  Abu saved his hatchery worth USD 2,500 due to early flood warning, by enclosing his pond with net to prevent fish from being washed away.


Right: Samad Miah, farmer, Ghorjan, Chowhali.  Samad delayed onion planting in response to forecast and avoided potential production losses.

Samad Miah, farmer, Ghorjan, Chowhali.  Samad delayed onion planting in response to forecast and avoided potential production losses.


This successful pilot has led to a follow-up project, supported by Cordaid, aimed at increasing availability of and access to risk and warning information through an online interactive web portal, linked to mobile services, at BWDB District Flood Information Centres and Union Parishad Digital Centres, matched with capacity building and public awareness activities.


RIMES 2nd Ministerial Conference adopted RIMES Master Plan 2016-2020 for science-informed risk and resource management

Ministers and representatives of the Ministers of Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Comoros, India, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam adopted RIMES Master Plan 2016-2020 during the 2nd RIMES Ministerial Conference, held on 10 July 2015 in New Delhi.  The Master Plan details country-specific capacity building priorities of RIMES member and collaborating states for user-centered multi-hazard risk-based early warning, and for maximizing opportunities associated with climate.


The Ministers reiterated their continued and unwavering commitment to sustain RIMES delivery of core services and support for implementing priority programs and projects under the Master Plan. In support of their National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and national scientific and technical agencies that generate multi-hazard warning information, the Ministers committed to fund Plan implementation primarily from resources available within the countries, and secondary from donor assistance.  This include voluntary Member State contribution toward a Program Fund to assist other Member States, as modeled by India; associating RIMES as technical implementing partner in country projects that align with Master Plan priorities and driving resource mobilization for these projects, along the initiatives of Bangladesh; and making use of technical capacity available in member and collaborating states, such as those available at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).


Ministers, Ministerial representatives, Council Members, and development and knowledge partners at the 2nd RIMES Ministerial Conference, 10 July 2015, New Delhi

Ministers, Ministerial representatives, Council Members, and development and knowledge partners at the 2nd RIMES Ministerial Conference,
10 July 2015, New Delhi


The Ministers appreciated the invaluable support rendered by ESCAP in establishing, and in its continuous effort to strengthen, RIMES.  The Ministers encouraged multilateral institutions to make use of RIMES mechanism for cost effective and sustainable delivery of programs and projects, and recommended the strengthening of the ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness for continued assistance for Master Plan implementation.  The Ministers and the RIMES Council acknowledged, with appreciation, the expressions of support from global and regional knowledge partners for Master Plan implementation.  These include the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOTWS-IOC).


The Ministers agreed to share regionally relevant meteorological and oceanographic data with partner institutions and member and collaborating states, for improving forecast systems for early warning.  Presently, RIMES has 12 signatory Member States.  Bhutan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, and Vietnam have indicated their readiness to sign the RIMES Cooperation Agreement; other 15 collaborating states are in various stages of Agreement consideration and approval.  Fiji has recently indicated interest to participate in RIMES programs.


Hon. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, India’s Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, at the conclusion of the 2nd RIMES Ministerial Meeting, shared his vision of RIMES as a movement for the protection of people and their livelihoods from impending dangers from natural hazards, and urged all stakeholders to sustain and deepen this movement for the years to come.

Workshop on INSPIRE-ESCAPE in Sri Lanka identified tsunami risk areas and safe zones for Hambantota, and verified optimum shelter options

The workshop on INSPIRE and ESCAPE software application for tsunami hazard and risk assessment and evacuation planning, held on 4-9 August 2014 in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, successfully concluded with a community meeting to affirm optimally feasible evacuation paths and shelters.


Nineteen participants from Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre, Coast Conservation Department, National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency, Survey Department, and Department of Meteorology (Hambantota Office) participated in the 6-day workshop on the functionalities and applications of the Internet-based Simulation Platform for Tsunami Inundation and Risk Evaluation (INSPIRE) and the Evaluation System for Computing Accessibility and Planning Evacuation (ESCAPE). Both applications are web-based tools: INSPIRE, for processing data, simulating tsunami propagation and inundation, and estimating tsunami loss; and ESCAPE, for computing the fastest evacuation path toward shelters, informed by INSPIRE outputs on tsunami safe areas.  The workshop used data, generated from near-shore bathymetric, topographic, and exposure surveys in Hambantota in April 2013, which were processed and prepared for use in INSPIRE and ESCAPE through a training at RIMES on DEM generation from July – August 2013.  Most of the workshop participants were involved in these activities.



Workshop outputs, which include tsunami arrival time from the worst-case earthquake scenario, maximum depth and extent of potential inundation, potential loss of life and building damage, shelter locations and capacities, and evacuation routes were presented to the District Disaster Management Committee and in a meeting with 20 representatives from areas in Hambantota that were affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The meeting appreciated the outputs from the workshop, confirmed the tsunami risk areas and safe zones, and selected appropriate shelter locations from the options provided by the workshop. The subsequent field visit verified the evacuation routes to and locations and capacities of the selected shelters, as well as provided alternate shelter options.


RIMES will run additional simulations on ESCAPE  for the suggested alternate shelters, to check on their feasibility.  Maps of tsunami inundation and risk zones, and final evacuation routes and shelter locations shall be handed-over to the District Disaster Management Committee, to guide evacuation planning.


This workshop was conducted under the project entitled “Enhancing Coastal Hazard Early Warning and Response: Tools and Institutional Strengthening”, supported by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific through the Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness. The project aims to build tsunami risk assessment capacities in Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand, building on UNESCO/IOC efforts in the Indian Ocean region and taking advantage of low-cost methodologies developed at RIMES.

Simulations of Severe Tropical Cyclone Nargis over the Bay of Bengal Using RIMES Opreational System

Authors : P.V.S Raju,J. Potty and U.C Mohanty
Publication Link :

RIMES, at the International Conference on Climate Change, Water Resources and Disasters in Mountainous Regions in Nepal

In order to address the issues of climate change in mountainous regions, an International Conference on Climate Change, Water Resources and Disasters in Mountainous Regions: Building Resilience to Changing Climate was convened in Kathmandu, Nepal, during 27-29 November 2013. RIMES’ Hydrology Team Leader, Dr. Dilip Kumar Gautam, presented a paper on “Comparison of rainfall-runoff models for predictions of inflow to Bhumibol Reservoir in Thailand” and chaired a technical session on “Watershed Management and Ecosystem Services”.


International Conference on Climate Change, Water Resources and Disasters in Mountainous Regions

Dr. Dilip (center) during the conference


The conference, which gathered more than two hundred participants both national and international with more than 100 papers, aimed to invite scientists, engineers, planners, development workers as well as experts on related fields providing a platform for presenting their research outcomes, on observations, findings and innovative ideas. It was jointly organized by the Society of Hydrologists and  Meteorologists-Nepal (SOHAM-Nepal), Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), Government of Nepal (GoN), and United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization International Hydrological Programme Nepal (UNESCO IHP-Nepal) in association with Department of Irrigation/Adaptation to Global Change in Agricultural Practices (DoI/AGloCAP), International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

The Government of Myanmar takes full responsibility for the Sittwe seismic station operation and maintenance

The ownership of Sittwe seismic station, the first real-time broadband seismic station in Myanmar to share data globally, has been transferred from ESCAP to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology of Myanmar on 27 November 2013; the Government of Myanmar takes now full responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the Sittwe seismic station. The Sittwe seismic station, established in 2010 with support from ESCAP Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness and the Royal Thai Government, improves Myanmar’s capacity in detecting and locating earthquakes in the country and across the region, and fills an important gap in the regional tsunami warning system.


Sittwe Myanmar Seismic Station (1)

Sittwe seismic station


Myanmar lies on the earthquake belt of the Himalayan range: 15 earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.0 have been observed in Myanmar in the past 100 years, mainly from the Sagaing Fault. This fault runs from north to south of the country passing through the central region, and the Sunda-Andaman Subduction Zone, which runs parallel to Myanmar’s coastal areas. Seismic observations are, therefore, important in improving knowledge of seismic and tsunami hazards in the country, and application in reducing disaster risks.


The Sittwe seismic station improved Myanmar’s capacity in detecting and locating earthquakes in the country and across the region.  The station is equipped with a strong motion sensor for detecting strong ground motion, essential for determining earthquake damage on manmade structures. Data, recorded at the station in SEED/ mini-SEED format, is transmitted digitally via VSAT to the National Earthquake Data Center of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.  The Department is able to access data from IRIS via internet, as well as from RIMES through a SeisComP – Antelope interface. Using SeisComP, data are then processed by the Data Center’s 24/7 staff, who have been trained under an ongoing project by RIMES, with support from the ESCAP Multi-Donor Trust Fund.


The Sittwe station is significant not only to Myanmar’s tsunami warning system, but also to the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, as part of its core network of seismic stations in the region. In compliance with UNESCO/IOC ICG/IOTWS standards for seismic stations, the Sittwe station has the following instruments:


  • Triaxial broadband seismometer (STS-2)
  • Triaxial force balance accelerometer (ES-T)
  • Advance broadband digitizer (Q330HR, 6 channels)
  • Network-aware recording system (Baler with 20GB memory)
  • C-Band Tx/Rx satellite earth station
  • Solar power supply system


*Link to a video on the establishment and sustainability of the Sittwe real-time broadband seismic station:


Personnel from Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, trained on WRF model installation, operation and maintenance

Personnel from Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) were trained by RIMES experts on Weather Research Forecasting (WRF) system installation, operation, and maintenance from 9-13 September 2013.  These 17 DMH technical staff learned and practiced on: WRF system set-up, basics of Linux Operating System, WRF libraries and library installation, and WRF modeling (pre-processing, model run, and post-processing) and troubleshooting.


Practical exercises to evaluate participants’ knowledge and skills gained during the training produced the following outputs:  24-hourly accumulated rainfall for three days forecast period for the whole Southeast Asian region, estimation of rainfall for the next 24 hours in Nay Pyi Taw and surrounding area, and hourly rainfall forecast for Yangon and surrounding area.


“Capacity building on WRF model installation, operation and maintenance is extremely important to DMH for operationalizing the model and building self-confidence of every DMH staff to handle daily operation individually.  They could now install, troubleshoot and run the model on their own, without much assistance.  This shall contribute to improved performance of DMH”, explains Itesh Dash, RIMES System Analyst for Hydro-meteorological Systems and one of the trainers.



      Itesh explaining about the WRF model during the training


Participants and facilitator at DMH office



Feedback from participants confirmed their improved understanding of the processes behind WRF modeling, from the model environment to model installation and model runs. According to Dr. Tin Mar Htay from DMH, the trained staff are now able to install and run the model at any other resolution and domain by themselves.  RIMES will continue providing remote assistance.


This activity is part of RIMES ongoing efforts in building DMH capacity in numerical weather prediction. Efforts started through a training of a DMH senior scientist, Mr. Sein Maw Oo, seconded until 2010.  Subsequently, DMH acquired a computing system for the WRF model, but transfer of learning to DMH was interrupted when Mr. Oo passed away in 2011.  In August 2012, RIMES agreed to provide assistance in establishing the WRF system at DMH, and build capacity of DMH personnel.  From February to August 2013, two DMH senior scientists, Mr. Kyaw Lwin Oo and Dr. Tin Mar Htay, were trained through secondment at RIMES on climate and WRF modeling. Both assisted in the training on WRF model installation, operation, and maintenance at DMH, and are facilitating knowledge transfer to colleagues.



RIMES Director, Mr. A.R. Subbiah, awards certificates to Dr. Tin Mar Htay (left) and Mr. Kyaw Lwin Oo (right) for completing their secondment at RIMES Program Unit in Thailand

Download the full training report: