A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Indian Ocean tsunami alert system.....

A proposed Indian Ocean tsunami alert system is under discussion at the U.N. Kobe meeting: 'Asian tsunami alert system backed' [BBC World (Asia/Pacific) Online News, January 20]:

"Donor countries and nations affected by the Asian tsunami disaster have agreed the UN should begin work on an early warning system in the Indian Ocean.

UN agencies said they were ready to start work immediately and that a basic system could be ready in 12-18 months.

The agreement came at a conference on disaster prevention in the Japanese city of Kobe."

Although the graphical description of the scientific warning system is helpful and the agreement to support such a system most welcome, it is important to remember that the science is the easy bit. The three big questions are: (i) How will this play in the 'failed' states and political zones of the Indian Ocean region, such as Burma, northern Sri Lanka, and even stricken, but contested, Aceh? (ii) How effective will be the infrastructure for delivering the warning to coastal authorities and to hotels in each of the countries concerned? Will officials, for example, have the political clout to issue warnings without fear of legal redress from, say, the tourist authorities? (iii) How effective will the local tsunami education programmes be in scattered villages and hotels? Will there, for example, be regular tsunami drills like fire drills and information notices and posters?

Philip, thinking of the practical politics of such alert systems.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?