Post mortem on the tsunami dead of Pagai

Posted on October 30, 2010  /  0 Comments

“We told you so.”

We said that the last mile was the key to saving lives; that focus had to placed on getting the warnings out to the potentially affected people; that they had to be trained to react appropriately; that all the fancy technology in and under the sea would come to nought if these key actions were not taken.

Our collaborator Nalaka Gunawardene says it again in a SciDev piece worth reading:

“What failed was the education process ­ only some of the people fled to higher ground and one of the boats put to sea immediately after they felt the earthquake ­ the right thing to do in these circumstances. Why wasn’t everyone well prepared to respond given the recent history of earthquakes and tsunamis in the region?”

Nalaka Gunawardene, director of TVE Asia Pacific, a not-for-profit media group, hinted at underlying problems with the system’s suitability for its environment.

Gunawardene told SciDev.Net that tsunami early warning systems installed after the 2004 tsunami “focused on the technology and overlooked the institutional arrangements and local capacity”.

He added: “The elaborate and expensive early warning systems installed after the 2004 tsunami have run into various problems of maintenance. Some were too sophisticated or too fragile for the rustic tropical Asian conditions. As a result, some of these systems are not in a state of readiness to swiftly and decisively handle a tsunami warning on a 24/7 basis.”

Comments are closed.