“Minutes after a massive earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean on Sunday, international ocean monitors knew that a tsunami would likely follow. But they didn’t know whom to tell.”
How frustrating. When the final tally appears I’ll wager that well over 50,000 people will have died as a result of this.
“In fact, the detector buoys that monitor tsunami surges have been available for decades. They record water heights and send measurements throughout the Pacific network. False alarms are a concern, slowing the speed with which bulletins can be released. A 1986 false alarm in Hawaii cost more than $30 million in evacuation costs.
LaDouce notes that warnings are of little use without evacuation plans, given how quickly a tsunami can travel. Tsunami waves struck Sumatra minutes after the quake and hit Thailand within an hour.
“Even if you give the tourist resorts in Thailand a half-hour’s notice, it is no easy matter to evacuate vast swaths of coastland,” he says. “You have to plan and train people. And then do it all over again.”
And there is the rub, the technology is available, but there are not endless resources that can be used to try and save lives. It is hard to balance this, but they need to come up with something. Generations have been wiped out.