I must have been busy last February. That is the only possible explanation for why I neglected to blog about an article Nalaka Gunawardene and I wrote, reflecting on the experience of providing effective disaster warnings, nine years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) adds a new dimension to disaster warnings. Having many information sources, dissemination channels and access devices is certainly better than few or none. However, the resulting cacophony makes it difficult to achieve a coherent and coordinated response.
This happened on 11 April 2012, for example, when an 8.6-magnitude quake occurred beneath the ocean floor 610 kilometres southwest of Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
Indian Ocean countries reacted differently. Several issued quick warnings and some also ordered coastal evacuation. Thai authorities shut down Phuket International Airport, while Chennai port in southern India was closed for a few hours.
In the end, the quake did not generate a tsunami, but it triggered plenty of chaos. In Sri Lanka, for example, coastal bus and train services were stopped, electricity was shut down and public offices were abruptly closed.
Scidev has been monitoring readership.
The article had generated a total of 251 unique page views one week after publication. It had generated a total of 443 unique page views one month after publication. Total page views after the first month of publication typically only increase by a small amount. This article had reached a total of 731 unique page views 6 months after it was published.