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Monday, December 27, 2004
Tsunami Warning System for Malaysia?



The death tolls as reported on the CNN website ::
  • Sri Lanka :: 10,000
  • India :: 6200
  • Indonesia :: 4350
  • Thailand :: 866
  • Maldives :: 48
  • Malaysia :: 53 (Star online)

These figures will get worse as many more are declared missing or lost.
There are tsunami warning centers that cover the Pacific Basin and the U.S. West Coast. These centres were aware of the Sumatran quake and the possibility of tsunamis according to the director of the International Tsunami Information Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. But there is no such warning system exists for the Indian Ocean. India and Sri Lanka are not covered by an international tsunami warning system. Such a system would have provided the affected regions of Asia with an early warning. The warning system is designed to alert nations that potentially destructive waves may hit their coastlines within 3 to 14 hours. Tsunami wave sensors do not exist in the Indian Ocean, so there was no way to determine whether a tsunami was forming or the direction it would travel. Although Thailand belongs to the international tsunami warning network, its west coast does not have the system's wave sensors mounted on ocean buoys.
According to a STAR report ::
The international warning system was started in 1965, the year after tsunamis associated with a magnitude 9.2 temblor struck Alaska in 1964.
It is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Member states include all the major Pacific rim nations in North America, Asia and South America, was well as the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand.
It also includes France, which has sovereignty over some Pacific islands, and Russia.

CNN has an animation of how a tsunami is formed (quicktime required). BBC provide graphics of how the quake/tsunami disaster unfolded, here.
Something posiitive may yet come out from the tsunami disaster that parts of Asia are presently facing. BERNAMA reports :: Malaysia To Set Up Tsunami Alert System. It reported that deputy PM, Najib Tun Razak said Monday that the government will seek Japanese expertise to set up a tsunami alert system to face the eventuality of a similar onslaught in future. Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang had this to say :: "Malaysia should have an early warning system that could have saved scores of lives lost in the devastating tsunami." According to Lim, Malaysia and other south-east Asian countries should have taken their discussions last year seriously about introducing an early warning system for tsunami although they happen very rarely in the Indian Ocean. Instruments and the computer systems used to predict tsunamis and provide early warning are very expensive. The early warning system is said to work in this manner (from the STAR report)::
The warning system analyses earthquake information from several seismic networks, including the U.S. Geological Survey.
The seismic information is fed into computer models that "picture'' how and where a tsunami might form.
It dispatches warnings about imminent tsunami hazards, including predictions how fast the waves are traveling and their expected arrival times in specific geographic areas.
As the waves rush past tidal stations in the ocean, bulletins updating the tsunami warning are issued. Other models generate "inundation maps'' of what areas could be damaged, and what communities might be spared.

Expensive as the system may be, gomen in our region should seriously consider setting it up for the region. For it is still not too late to have this early warning system set up for who can be certain that another devastating tsunami would not hit our shores again in the near future.



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MALAYSIA, a great place to be in, BUT we can, will and must make HER better.
You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.
IMAGINE:youtube::John Lennon

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