Governments need to pay more attention to the costs of false warnings. It’s not that this has not been said before. But now we have real evidence from the region.
A false tsunami alert two months ago led thousands of Bangladeshis to ignore warnings as Cyclone Sidr approached, costing many lives, villagers and officials said on Tuesday.
“This time we did not take the number 10 danger signal seriously because the government has been issuing these warnings quite often. We have rushed to cyclone centres in the past and then headed straight back,” said Abed Master, a teacher in Golshakhali, one of the worst-hit villages in southern Bangladesh.
Officials said they had struggled in vain to persuade villagers – used to the Bay of Bengal’s many lesser cyclones and storms – of the danger they faced.
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