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Updated Tsunami Warning Centers Plus Tsunami Lessons

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I was casting about this morning looking for some current links to add to our Tsunami (Tidal Wave) Hazard page when I stumbled upon the Tsunami Lessons blog, authored by Doug Carlson. While I got the feeling in browsing through Doug's posts that he was being a bit heavy-handed with regard to NOAA and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, I suspect that this may be the result of butting heads with an intransigent bureaucracy. Of course, Doug's perspective is colored by his background as a news reporter, and undoubtedly runs counter to the government viewpoint. Personnel at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center must be especially skittish after two years of unrelenting criticism from nearly every quarter following the horrific 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

MORE ....

Doug's remarks, which are both extensive and detailed, got me thinking that the writeup for our Tsunami Warning Centers page was woefully inadequate. I promptly sat down (Actually, I was already sitting.) and wrote a new article relating to tsunami warning centers, the 2004 tsunami, and the need for an advanced tsunami global warning network. I urge you to read it and, while it's not a long article, I hope I have done the subject justice.

While you're at it, check out the Tsunami Lessons blog. It's worth the read, and may open your eyes to some of the problems relating to adequate public emergency and disaster preparedness. Doug has launched two additional blogs, Katrina's Lessons and Citizens Helping Officials Respond to Emergencies (CHORE). I commend Doug and his staff for their effort to improve emergency response, an effort that could ultimately save thousands of lives.

Posted by: The Spidermaster on Feb 15, 07 | 12:30 am | Profile



I found your comments and postings related to Tsunamis interesting and informative. Also, your highlighting Doug Carlson's blog is useful so that others may get a better perspective of how our own government had the capability to spread an alert and warm of an impending disaster but was constrained by internal gov. to gov. protocols currently in place. Had the PTWC utilized immediate mass media avenues , i.e., news media/radio, many, many, many live could have been saved.

FYI, here's a copy of a letter to the editor I wrote to our local paper, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, regarding this matter:
Vol. 11, Issue 201 - Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Local official handled tsunami warning badly"

The tsunami-related deaths of at least 550 people in Java point once again to an egregious failure to communicate by government bureaucrats.

When are these people going to learn that in times of crisis and natural disasters, the use of the news media -- particularly radio and TV -- can be the single most effective and efficient way to broadcast lifesaving information to mass populations?

Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, stated that Indonesian officials "did the wrong thing" by not alerting the people after he had contacted them 45 minutes before the deadly tsunami struck the Java coast (Star-Bulletin, July 19).

No, Dr. McCreery. You did the wrong thing by relying on government bureaucrats, rather than the electronic news media, to get the word out.

J. M. Comcowich

Jerome M. Comcowich, Ph.D. Off: 808_956_4600
School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology
University of Hawaii at Manoa Fax: 808_956_5035
1000 Pope Road _ MSB Rm. 212 Honolulu, HI 96822

Posted by: J. Comcowich on Feb 15, 07 | 6:34 pm

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