Experts clinched an agreement Tuesday in Paris on a technical plan and timetable for setting up a tsunami warning network in the Indian Ocean.
"The Indian Ocean countries have agreed among themselves to set up a tsunami early warning system for the whole Indian Ocean basin," said Patricio Bernal, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
The nations will receive seismic data next month from earthquake monitoring stations in Tokyo and Hawaii.
There are also plans to set up tidal gauges at six sites in eastern Indian Ocean and upgrade 15 existing gauge sites, said Bernal, who chairs a meeting at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The instruments will be on the lookout for large waves around the clock and offer a rudimentary alert system for tsunamis from October to November, the official said.
The final step of the plan is to set up a complex system around the Indian Ocean, which will include a regional warning center and a network of seabed sensors and gauges.
The system is expected to be operational at the end of 2006, said Bernal.
But the meeting left two important problems unsolved -- where the regional warning center is to be located and who would pay for the system.
During the talks, the countries also expressed their eagerness to set up tsunami warning systems for the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, Bernal said.