A trial run was held on Sunday in coastal Da Nang city in central Vietnam, Le Huy Minh director of the Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre told German Press Agency dpa.

The warning system includes 10 alert stations connected to a control centre run by military-owned Viettel Telecom Corporation. The test drilled a scenario where a high-magnitude earthquake off the Philippines triggered a tsunami that hit Da Nang.

Within 15 minutes of the warning, messages were sent via loudspeakers and text messaging to coordinate evacuation plans.

Although the risk is low, if an earthquake of a magnitude above 8 strikes the Philippines, it could trigger a tsunami in Vietnam, Minh said.

'We are more concerned about tsunami after the disaster in Japan,' he said. Vietnam is already covered by the US-government Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, who was present at the test Sunday, said disasters are 'very worrying' and the country faces 'increasing problems associated with climate change,' according to a report in state-run newspaper Viet Nam News.

'The quicker we act, the less effect there will be on people and the economy,' he said.

Viettel plans to build more warning stations in high-risk areas along the coast by the beginning of next year, the newspaper said.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - May 16, 2011