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SE Asia tragedy question....

(24 Posts)
Eaney Fri 31-Dec-04 14:13:40

I heard on the radio a few days ago that the earthquake had been picked up by the countries that border the pacific rim. The American Army apparently notified their air base in the area so that they could evacuate. They argued that they did not notify any of the countries that have been affected because there was no formal process to do so. I have not heard this mentioned on any news item since. This plays on my mind a lot as I think so many deaths could have been prevented.

Has anyone else heard this?

kalex Fri 31-Dec-04 14:16:07

I heard this too. But is has been given very little news coverage.

Caligulights Fri 31-Dec-04 14:18:30

I've heard this. Somebody on News 24 was going on about it, but I haven't heard anything since.

I can't believe that the lack of a "formal process" could be used as an excuse not to warn people. Even if they didn't realise just how enormous it was going to be.

JanH Fri 31-Dec-04 14:28:12

I found this in the Times:

<<Then there was the rumour that the US military base at Diego Garcia was forewarned of the impending disaster and — presumably because of some CIA-approved plot to undermine Islamic movements in Indonesia and Thailand — did nothing about it. >>

Can't find anything else yet.

JanH Fri 31-Dec-04 14:31:54

From the Indie, 29/12:

<<DIEGO GARCIA: How did it escape harm?

How did Diego Garcia, the British-owned island in the Indian Ocean and home of a US base for B2 bombers, escape the effects of the tsunami?

The island, 1,000 miles south of India and well within range of the wave, has a highest point of 22ft and an average elevation of 4ft, yet a spokesman for the US Pacific Command in Hawaii said that the base had not been harmed. Officials at the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said Diego Garcia had been forewarned. Other countries were not, apparently because of a lack of contact details over a holiday weekend.>>

Being forewarned could not have prevented flooding, though, could it? Apparently there is some sort of flood barrier around the island anyway (can't remember where I read that though.)

tiredemma Fri 31-Dec-04 14:32:33

i have read today that the thai govt knew of the earthquake but didnt think that there would that much of a tsunami from it and didnt want to run the risk of being sued by the tour operators for informing tourists and creating a panic in resorts.
they obviously didnt realise just how big the tsunami would be.

how awful... i have also heard about the us army knowing, if its true then its disgraceful

JanH Fri 31-Dec-04 14:41:36

From the Telegraph, 29/12:

<<• The United States navy base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean was spared damage from the tsunami, US officials said. Carolyn Bell, a spokesman for the US Geological Survey, said coral reefs might have dissipated some of the impact on the island, resulting in only a slightly higher tide.>>

I read somewhere that Bangladesh (I think) does now have a cyclone early warning system, which consists of blokes on bikes with whistles - seriously - and it works. But there is a communications system set up to pass the word along, and also a cyclone is more predictable than tsunamis following an's never happened there before, has it? I don't think anybody can be blamed.

tiredemma Fri 31-Dec-04 14:45:23

i also saw that someone did try to inform india about the tsunami but they sent the message to the old science minister who was "out of office" and not to the new science minister who i suppose could of acted on it.
i just find it amazing that nobody was forewarned, it would of taken 3 hours from the moment of the earthquake up until the first waves hit india and thailand.

JanH Fri 31-Dec-04 14:52:28

But tsunamis are not visible on the surface of the ocean so they can't be tracked by shipping or satellite, and their paths are not predictable. I know what you mean, emma, it is very upsetting to think that people have died who could have been saved, but without a reliable network already set up so that the right people would be informed and could easily pass the information on, it just couldn't happen.

They are talking about an Indian Ocean system now like the Pacific Rim one; although it seems like bolting the stable door at the moment, who knows if this might happen again?

JanH Fri 31-Dec-04 14:55:45

BBC News on India's proposed new system.

The last bit is interesting in this context:

<<Thailand is believed to be the only state to have issued a warning of the impending disaster but investigators are now trying to establish whether the news was deliberately played down so as not to sow panic among tourists.

A website caution, for example, was reportedly only posted three hours after the first deluge hit the country's southern resorts.

Sulamee Prachuab, head of the Thai Meteorological Department's Seismological Bureau, recalled that a tidal wave warning issued five years earlier after an earthquake in Papua New Guinea had led to complaints from the tourism authority that such alerts hurt the industry.>>

tallulah Fri 31-Dec-04 17:42:37

I thought it was odd that no-one appeared to know this was coming, when I understood there was an office somewhere responsible for tracking seismic energy.

I saw a small piece in the paper today that said they knew in Hawaii that it was coming but didn't manage to inform anyone in time. They reckon the animals all knew.

happymerryberries Fri 31-Dec-04 17:48:41

You cannot 'predict' an earth quake. You can see the early stages, but these may or may not culmanate in a large earthquake. The chances of predicting a tsunami is even more remote

spacedonkey Fri 31-Dec-04 17:49:22

I've been wondering about this too. It's hideous isn't it. I was also appalled by George Dubya's speech bleating on about how generous the US is. Bastards. Think how much they've spent on the iraq war. Grrr

emmatmg Fri 31-Dec-04 17:56:19

SD, I read somewhere on here, that the 35 million the the US has gave would last 4 hours if the spent it in Iraq. 4 HOURS.

Priorities totally fucked up if you ask me. Bush you are a prick!

KangaSantaMummy Fri 31-Dec-04 18:00:08

what I don't understand is why they couldn't just put out a warning on CNN as they deffo had CNN in MALDIVES

Even if it just said stay off the beaches and out of the sea it would have helped some people.

happymerryberries Fri 31-Dec-04 18:21:23

Just heared an expert saying that because there are no sea floor sensors in the Indian Ocean (as they have in the Pacific) they simply didn't know that there was going to be a Tsunami.

spacedonkey Fri 31-Dec-04 18:36:28

4 hours - that is SO depressing

and as for tony blair sunning himself in egypt while all this goes on - grrr

zebra Fri 31-Dec-04 18:38:31

Claire Short was on the Radio yesterday saying that there's no need/reason for Blair to come back from Egypt. And she is not exactly one to quickly rise to his defence.

The worst affected province in Indonesia (est. 100,000 dead) is isolated from the rest of the world because of civil war there, anyway.

spacedonkey Fri 31-Dec-04 18:40:05

I disagree, I think it appears frivolous to carry on his holiday when a disaster of such magnitude has happened and he should have cut his holiday short. Grrr.

KangaSantaMummy Fri 31-Dec-04 18:40:54

I wonder how much help would be given by the governments if a politician or family or friends had been injured or killed?

If Blair or Bush had been there on holiday?

spacedonkey Fri 31-Dec-04 18:42:05

exactly kanga

imo this is a massive wake up call to the whole world to start getting our priorities right

emmatmg Fri 31-Dec-04 18:43:25

blimey, kanga, can you imagine?
it would be a very different story

emmatmg Fri 31-Dec-04 18:45:30

I bet Bush wouldn't be so stingy if the election was still to happen either!

How the F*ck did that man get that job?

happymerryberries Fri 31-Dec-04 18:52:57

Britain has now raised its donation to £50 million, and the US government to $350 million

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