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Subject: Quake waves: "Lack of warning system intensifies loss"

This event underscores the need for the kind of public warnings
that would be issued through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).


   Lack of warning system intensifies loss
     By Andrew Revkin, The New York Times

    The earthquake that struck northwest of Sumatra,
  Indonesia, at dawn on Sunday was a perfect wave-making
  machine, and the lack of a tsunami warning system in the
  Indian Ocean essentially guaranteed the devastation that
  swept coastal communities around southern Asia, experts
  said Sunday.

    Although waves swamped parts of the Sumatran coast
  and nearby islands within minutes, there would have been
  time to alert more distant communities if the Indian
  Ocean had a warning network like that in the Pacific,
  said Tad Murty, an expert on the region's tsunamis who
  is affiliated with the University of Manitoba in

    Within 15 minutes of the earthquake, in fact,
  scientists  running the existing tsunami warning
  system for the Pacific, where such waves are far more
  common, sent an alert from their Honolulu hub to 26
  participating countries, including Thailand and
  Indonesia, that destructive waves might be generated
  by the Sumatra tremors.

    But there was no way to convey that information
  speedily to countries or communities an ocean away,
  said Laura Kong, a Commerce Department seismologist
  and director of the International Tsunami Information
  Center, an office run under the auspices of the United

    Phone calls were hurriedly made to countries in the
  Indian Ocean danger zone, she said, but not with the
  speed that comes from pre-established emergency

    "Outside the Pacific these things don't occur very
  often at all, so the challenge is how to make people
  and government officials aware,'' she said.


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