Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Indonesia tsunami

On Monday afternoon, in less than an hour, Java gets hit by a Tsunami that has killed 500 and 50,000 are homeless. You see according to the BBC "It currently takes scientists up to 60 minutes to receive and analyse the data from 30 seismological stations and send out a warning. ".
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Well that's helpful. Tsunamis should always be well over an hour from shore.
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"We were told that there had been an earthquake and the tsunami might come in a couple of days... we never expected it." said one local.
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So even when the information is disseminated it is wrong. Yes, it is difficult to get this right under short notice, but the excuses are appalling. Broadcasting messages across all radio stations is easy, sending police vehicles with loudspeakers around villages is easy.
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"US and Japanese agencies issued tsunami alerts for parts of Indonesia and Australia, but the Indonesian government says it was unable to relay the message to the coast. "
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Funnily enough, while Indonesia is now relatively free and open, totalitarian societies very quickly round up dissenters and put down demonstrations because it is in their interests to do so. Presumably it wasn't sufficiently a priority for the Indonesian authorities to warn their people of the tsunami. Hopefully there wont be a third time.

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