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Tidal Waves Kill More Than 120,000 in Asia

Tidal Waves Kill More Than 120,000 in Asia

 
Old 12-27-04, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
Well, the area across the Indian Ocean from India is one of the most seismically active areas in the world.
Yet these tsunamis are very infrequent.
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Old 12-27-04, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by X
I'm not sure it would be considered cost-effective by the affected countries due to the infrequency of this type of event.

Even the U.S. only has a couple of states (Alaska, Hawaii, Washington) that even have sirens, and that's only because of previous occurrences with a good likelihood of repeating.
Tsunami alert centre unable to help
From correspondents in Los Angeles
28dec04

AN alert centre in Hawaii that warns Pacific countries about approaching tsunamis detected the earthquake that generated killer waves across Asia, but had no way of raising the alarm.

The absence of an alert system in Asia meant the information could not be sent out fast enough to save any of the more than 23,000 lives that were lost in the catastrophe.

“We did what we could to warn Asian nations of the likelihood of a tsunami,” said Charles McCreery of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Honolulu, adding that the centre did not have direct contacts with Indian Ocean nations.

The centre, set up by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1949 after a huge wave killed 159 people in Hawaii, tried desperately to warn Asian nations through US embassies in their capitals.

“From our instruments we can detect any large earthquake in the Pacific, usually within two to three minutes of the occurrence of the earthquake, and warn any country that is threatened,” he said.






The centre issued a bulletin at 0114 GMT when it detected the temblor off the coast of Indonesia, but with no early warning system in place in Asia, scientists had no choice but to begin working their phones.

“We knew that the whole coast of Sumatra was capable of large, damaging earthquakes and large tsunamis,” said US Geological Survey geophysicist Ken Hudnut.

“There was sufficient time between the time of the quake and the time of the tsunamis hitting some of the affected areas to have saved many lives, if a proper warning system had been in place,” he told AFP.

The NOAA's information bulletin said there was a possibility of a tsunami near the earthquake's epicentre, but that no destructive threat existed in the Pacific.

But huge tidal waves swept across the Indian Ocean killing at least 23,000 people in nine countries from Indonesia to Somalia.

The tsunami is believed to be the first in the Indian Ocean since 1883, possibly explaining why coastal inhabitants of the region were so unprepared for the disaster.

“Because they are such a rare occurrence, perhaps the tradition of warning about the hazards of tsunamis is no longer handed down from generation to generation,” Hudnut said.

Records dating back to 1509 show that Indian Ocean tsunamis have never hit more than one place at one time, Eddie Bernard , director of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, told The Wall Street Journal.

“There do not seem to be any tsunamis that were Indian Ocean-wide,” Bernard said.

There are almost no tsunami alert systems for the Indian Ocean to give populations sufficient time to flee the deadly waves, the NOAA said.

The International Tsunami Information Centre was created in 1965 as part of UNESCO, the UN science and education agency, to better prepare Pacific countries against the giant waves.

The United States has a second tsunami-warning centre in Alaska that was established in 1967, following a 1964 earthquake that unleashed a tsunami responsible for 122 deaths.

The US tsunami centres get information from the National Data Buoy Centre, whose network of buoys measure the size of waves.

US earthquake experts say that in an age of booming international travel and tourism, people all over the world should be aware of what to do in the case of a major earthquake that could spawn a tsunami.

“People who spend any time at all -- even vacations -- in coastal communities should know that when there is a major quake they should make their way to high ground as quickly as possible because a tsunami could soon follow,” Hudnut said.

“Being prepared for such calamities is part of being a savvy traveller,” he said.
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Old 12-27-04, 11:28 PM
  #153  
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Originally Posted by X
Yet these tsunamis are very infrequent.
It's not infrequency that will determine the development of a bouy system, it's the politics. Close the barn door after the horses have left, which is the typical human response to disasters such as these. Given the fact that 20,000+ have lost their lives, I think that the leaders in these countries will invest in a Tsunami detection system or at least training for the first responders to show that they're doing something towards the future.

Looking at it strictly from an odds perspective, there's not much need for it, but when you look at the lives lost, there will be calls for something going forward.
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Old 12-28-04, 01:51 AM
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But something like this only happens once every hundred years or so.
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Old 12-28-04, 02:00 AM
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How exactly does a tsunami warning system work? Is it like a tornado siren? How will people recognize it without constant drills (especially in tourist areas)? How much advance notice will there be? What are they supposed to do when they hear it?
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Old 12-28-04, 02:05 AM
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think some places might have sirens, and then there would be a emegency warning over the air waves on the radio and tv I think....
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Old 12-28-04, 02:07 AM
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Just heard this on the local news.
The energy released by the quake = 1 million atomic bombs
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Old 12-28-04, 02:08 AM
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The news were saying that the wave was moving at 500 mph.
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Old 12-28-04, 02:48 AM
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In this case, and in this case only, I would NOT have chosen the lump sum.
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Old 12-28-04, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
In this case, and in this case only, I would NOT have chosen the lump sum.


such a bad situation there, I'm sure

let's hoep the death toll doesn't rise but I'm sure it will
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Old 12-28-04, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
Just heard this on the local news.
The energy released by the quake = 1 million atomic bombs

I don't know about that. I think 1 millions atomic bombs would be enough to vaporize a country the size of India and send it to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
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Old 12-28-04, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wabio
I don't know about that. I think 1 millions atomic bombs would be enough to vaporize a country the size of India and send it to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
1 million atomic bombs detonated on the ocean floor 6.2 miles below would have a totally different effect than a surface detonation though.

Quake likely jolted Earth's rotation
Quake's power = million atomic bombs?

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science....ap/index.html
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Old 12-28-04, 05:28 AM
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Drudge is saying 45,000 dead now!!
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Old 12-28-04, 07:52 AM
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Yeah, I was guessing maybe 40K tops, but it's rising just about every 4 hours.

It must be just utter chaos in Sri Lanka and the surrounding countries and I really feel for them. They didn't have any amount of time to prepare for the oncoming horror, and I really don't think an alert system would have helped.

The missing numbers are just so high, this may go to 60,000 now. I remember I was something online at a Sri Lanka news website, and they had reported 8,000 missing. That was as of in the morning yesterday. Just in Sri Lanka (one report said 11,500 just in Sri Lanka by the end of the day). You figure how many are missing in all areas, and the numbers are up to probably 60,000 dead, maybe even 80,000 by the time it's all over with.

An interesting breakdown by a Muslim website of Sri Lanka, who report about 13,,000 dead:

Sainthamaruthu - 1200
Maruthamunai - 1100
Ninthavur - 200
Kinniya - 350
Mutiur - 290
Akkaraipattu - 11
Kalmunai - 400
Kattankudy - 70
Valaichenai - 02
Weligama - 10
Beruwala - 09
Galle - 105
Hambantota - 900
Dickwellza - 11

Total - 4,368 / 13,000 = 34% Muslim. While most of Sri Lanka is Buddhist, there is a disproportionate amount of Muslims dead, which is what I was trying to get across to another poster, but I didn't get it across well enough. Anyway, I'm hoping we see a lot of financial support and proper representation.

Displaced families/people in Sri Lanka:

Mutur 6976
Kinniya 41330
Nilaweli 2000
Kutheweli 900
Pulmoddai 500
Kattankudy 2500
Sainthamaruthu 20000
Maruthamunai 17000
Kalmunai 12000
Pottuvil 25000.

Total - ~128,200 (I believe these are the Muslim areas being quoted here--certainly much much higher for the rest of the country/island).

Another reason why I mention this, is because the dead are supposed to be buried immediately. This presents a severe disease potential in the areas listed above, as I do not think there are proper burial supplies to handle all of the bodies.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:07 AM
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oh. my. god.
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Old 12-28-04, 10:32 AM
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AP is reporting the figure at 44,000.

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — Mourners in Sri Lanka used their bare hands to dig graves Tuesday while hungry islanders in Indonesia turned to looting in the aftermath of Asia's devastating tsunamis. Thousands more bodies were found in Indonesia, dramatically increasing the death toll across 11 nations to around 44,000.

Emergency workers who reached Aceh province at the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island found that 10,000 people had been killed in a single town, Meulaboh, said Purnomo Sidik, national disaster director at the Social Affairs Ministry.

Another 9,000 were confirmed dead so far in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, and surrounding towns, he said. Soldiers and volunteers combed seaside districts and dug into rubble of destroyed houses to seek survivors and retrieve the dead amid unconfirmed reports that other towns along Aceh's west coast had been demolished.

With aid not arriving quick enough, desperate residents in Meulaboh and other towns in Aceh — a region that was unique in that it was struck both by Sunday's massive quake and the killer waves that followed — were turning to looting.

"It is every person for themselves here," district official Tengku Zulkarnain told el-Shinta radio station from the area.

"People are looting, but not because they are evil, but they are hungry," said Red Cross official Irman Rachmat in Banda Aceh.

In Sri Lanka, the toll also mounted significantly. Around 1,000 people were dead or missing and feared dead from a train that was flung off its tracks when the gigantic waves hit. Rescuers pulled 204 bodies from the train's eight carriages — reduced to twisted metal — and cremated or buried them Tuesday next to the railroad track that runs along the coastline.

More than 18,700 people died in Sri Lanka, more than 4,000 in India and more than 1,500 in Thailand, with numbers expected to rise. The Indonesian vice president's estimate that his country's coastlines held up to 25,000 victims would bring the potential toll up to 50,000.

Europeans desperately sought relatives missing from holidays in Southeast Asia — particularly Thailand, where bodies littered the once crowded beach resorts. Near the devastated Similan Beach and Spa Resort, where mostly German tourists were staying, a naked corpse hung suspended from a tree Tuesday as if crucified.

A blond two-year-old Swedish boy, Hannes Bergstroem, found sitting alone on a road in Thailand and taken to a hospital was reunited with his uncle, who saw the boy's picture on the hospital's Web site.

"This is a miracle, the biggest thing that could happen," said the uncle, who identified himself as Jim.

So far, more than 80 Westerners have been confirmed dead across the region — including 11 Americans. But a British consulate official in Thailand warned that hundreds more foreign tourists were likely killed in the country's resorts.

In Sri Lanka, more than 300 people crammed into the Infant Jesus Church at Orrs Hill, located on high ground from their ravaged fishing villages. Families and childres slept on pews and the cement floor.

"We had never seen the sea looking like that. It was like as if a calm sea had suddenly become a raging monster," said one woman, Haalima, recalling the giant wave that swept away her 5-year-old grandson, Adil.

Adil was making sandcastles with his younger sister, Reeze, while Haalima sat in her home Sunday morning. Haalima said the girl ran to her complaining that waves had crushed their castles, then came screams and water entered the home. "When we looked, there was no shore anymore and no Adil," she said.

In Sri Lanka's severely hit town of Galle, officials mounted a loudspeaker on a fire engine to advise residents to lay bodies of the dead on roads for collection and burial. Elsewhere in Sri Lanka, residents took on burial efforts with forks or even bare hands to scrape a final resting place for victims.

The tidal waves and flooding uprooted land mines in war-torn Sri Lanka, threatening to kill or maim aid workers and survivors who are attempting to return to what's left of their homes.

Amid the devastation, however, were some miraculous stories of survival.

In Malaysia, a 20-day-old baby was found alive on a floating mattress. She and her family were later reunited. A Hong Kong couple vacationing in Thailand clung to a mattress for six hours.

The disaster could be history's costliest, with "many billions of dollars" of damage, said U.N. Undersecretary Jan Egeland, who is in charge of emergency relief coordination.

Hundreds of thousands have lost everything, and millions face a hazardous future because of polluted drinking water, a lack of sanitation and no health services, he said.

Scores of people were also killed in Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the Maldives. The tidal waves traveled as far as Somalia, where hundreds were reported dead, and Seychelles, where three were killed.

Children have emerged as the biggest victims of Sunday's quake-born tidal waves. The U.N. organization estimates at least one-third of the tens of thousands who died were children, said UNICEF spokesman Alfred Ironside in New York.

Officials in Thailand and Indonesia conceded that immediate public warnings of gigantic waves could have saved lives. The only known warning issued by Thai authorities reached resort operators when it was too late. The waves hit Sri Lanka and India more than two hours after the quake.

But governments insisted they couldn't have known the true danger because there is no international system in place to track tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, and they could not afford the sophisticated equipment to build one.

For most people around the shores across the region, the only warning Sunday of the disaster came when shallow coastal waters disappeared, sucked away by the approaching tsunami, before returning as a massive wall of water. The waves wiped out villages, lifted cars and boats, yanked children from the arms of parents and swept away beachgoers, scuba divers and fishermen.

The United States dispatched disaster teams and prepared a $15 million aid package to the Asian countries, and the 25-nation European Union promised to deliver $4 million. Japan, Portugal, China and Russia were sending teams of experts.

Egeland said he expected hundreds of relief airplanes from two dozen countries within the next 48 hours.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:11 PM
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Simply unbelievable. Even tho I work disasters for a living here in the US, I'm not sure I can even imagine this.

While probably to early for this, I keep reading where these areas cannot afford a warning syster. But I also read where parts of the US knew about the quake and possibility of this happening (tho I'm sure could not imagine this damage). Wonder if there is any way to let these countries "lease" our system. Or simply set up some sort of a "hot line" so that these countries would only have to build a local warning system like air raid sirens or here in Texas we have Tornado sirens. I mean is looks like some of these areas were hit two even three hours after the quake. You would think that kind of time would have save a vast majority of these people.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct
But I also read where parts of the US knew about the quake and possibility of this happening (tho I'm sure could not imagine this damage). Wonder if there is any way to let these countries "lease" our system. Or simply set up some sort of a "hot line" so that these countries would only have to build a local warning system like air raid sirens or here in Texas we have Tornado sirens. I mean is looks like some of these areas were hit two even three hours after the quake. You would think that kind of time would have save a vast majority of these people.
Scientists in USA saw tsunami coming

Tue Dec 28, 7:11 AM ET Top Stories - USATODAY.com

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Minutes after a massive earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean on Sunday, international ocean monitors knew that a tsunami would likely follow. But they didn't know whom to tell.

"We put out a bulletin within 20 minutes, technically as fast as we could do it," says Jeff LaDouce of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. LaDouce says e-mails were dispatched to Indonesian officials, but he doesn't know what happened to the information.

The problem is that Sunday's earthquake struck the unmonitored Indian Ocean. An international system of buoys and monitoring stations - the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center based in Hawaii - spans the Pacific, alerting nations there to any oncoming disasters. But no such system guards the Indian Ocean.

(There isn't one in the Atlantic Ocean because there are comparatively few earthquakes there. LaDouce says efforts are being made in the Caribbean to set up a warning system after last year's tsunami caused by the volcanic collapse on the island of Montserrat.)

"Sumatra has an ample history of great earthquakes, which makes the lack of a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean all the more tragic," says geologist Brian Atwater of the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites). "Everyone knew Sumatra was a loaded gun."

On Monday, Asian government officials, notably in India, discussed plans to coordinate efforts to develop an Indian Ocean system. "It's a people problem, not a technology problem," says geophysicist Teng-fong Wong of the State University of New York-Stony Brook. "Governments just have to cooperate."

In fact, the detector buoys that monitor tsunami surges have been available for decades. They record water heights and send measurements throughout the Pacific network. False alarms are a concern, slowing the speed with which bulletins can be released. A 1986 false alarm in Hawaii cost more than $30 million in evacuation costs.

LaDouce notes that warnings are of little use without evacuation plans, given how quickly a tsunami can travel. Tsunami waves struck Sumatra minutes after the quake and hit Thailand within an hour.

"Even if you give the tourist resorts in Thailand a half-hour's notice, it is no easy matter to evacuate vast swaths of coastland," he says. "You have to plan and train people. And then do it all over again."
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Old 12-28-04, 12:31 PM
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Here's a couple of videos that i found:

Video 1

Video 2


Amazing.

(credit goes to brevity @ LWS)
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Old 12-28-04, 12:33 PM
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We don't get tsunamis in California. At least none that I've ever heard about. Yet there is still education that states if there is a major earthquake off the coast or near the coast, that you should get to higher ground immediately.

Perhaps these folks in Indonesia don't need an early warning system, but they should be taught to get to higher ground during a major quake.

Just a thought.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mllefoo
We don't get tsunamis in California. At least none that I've ever heard about. Yet there is still education that states if there is a major earthquake off the coast or near the coast, that you should get to higher ground immediately.

Perhaps these folks in Indonesia don't need an early warning system, but they should be taught to get to higher ground during a major quake.

Just a thought.

Well I doubt people in Sri Lanka felt an earthquake a that occured on the other side of the Indian Ocean from where they are. Just a thought.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by spfanatic
Here's a couple of videos that i found:

Video 1

Video 2


Amazing.

(credit goes to brevity @ LWS)
That is crazy.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:53 PM
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Are you kidding? People in australia reported feeling that quake.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mllefoo
We don't get tsunamis in California. At least none that I've ever heard about. Yet there is still education that states if there is a major earthquake off the coast or near the coast, that you should get to higher ground immediately.

Perhaps these folks in Indonesia don't need an early warning system, but they should be taught to get to higher ground during a major quake.

Just a thought.
California was hit by a tsunami from the Alaska quake in the 60s. It killed a few hundred people, I believe.
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Old 12-28-04, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mllefoo
Are you kidding? People in australia reported feeling that quake.

That might be but I'm sure it didn't feel like a 9.0 did it? Every time someone in California feels an earthquake do they head for the mountains?
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