Monday, December 04, 2006

Scientists Warn of Possible Indonesian Tsunami; Alerts to Public Still Depend on Intermediaries

Click here for Tsunami Lesson's first post on January 2, 2005 to understand what got us started.

The Honolulu Advertiser carries an online story today on scientists' conclusion that the Indonesian area is hit by tsunamis every 30 years or so. (I think we have to disregard the specific reference to "230 years" as a typo and rely on other statements that specifically reference three decades.)

Of particular interest to the Tsunami Lessons blog is the story's final paragraph:

"Until the regional tsunami warning capability is established, NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and the Japan Meteorological Agency are providing tsunami advisory and watches alerts to 27 Indian Ocean countries. The individual countries then determine if and how they issue a warning to their publics."

Back in March 2005, this blog surmised that the "control issue" may be the biggest obstacle to transmitting warnings quickly enough to do any good. This new report reaffirms our nearly two-year-old belief that routing warnings through all the nations' independent offices will be the equivalent of "snail mail" compared to using the mass media to send life-saving alerts.