Warning systems aren’t enough

Danny Ayers writes about a global internet tsunami warning system He missed the point; the SE-Asian Tsunami was detected in minutes by research centers in Hawaii. But there was no way to get the message out.


In terms of practicality, no warning system would have helped the Indonesians in Sumatra; the tsunami hit too fast. But if it had been possible to get the message out to Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka, then the deaths there could possibly have been prevented.

It took two hours for the waves to get to India and Sri Lanka. It took several more to hit East Africa, where over 130 people died. The news wires were already buzzing with the tsunami news before it hit Phuket in Thailand (about 45 minutes after Sumatra).

All of this shows that it’s not a detection system that was needed – it’s a communication system. There needs to be a way of getting the message out easily, with government communication channels in place. There also needs to be a way for the governments in question to get the word out to the remote communities that were hardest hit.

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Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 18 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 16 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

One thought on “Warning systems aren’t enough”

  1. Tsunami preparation and warnings

    Robertdw reckoned I missed the point on tsunami warning – saying that this one was detected in minutes (in Hawaii) but there was no way to get the message out. Nick said in comments that it was a ‘Act of God’, something that humanity can do much abou…

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