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Indonesia: Tsunami scare shows gaps as thousands miss quake warnings

Source(s):  Bloomberg LP

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that according to officials including Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of Indonesia’s national disaster management agency’s data and information center, while tsunami detection systems appear to have worked, the quake exposed flaws in the diffusion of warnings and effectiveness of evacuation plans.

Warnings were issued through mass e-mails, short text messages to mobile phones, faxes and website postings and Twitter. Phone companies and government officials said that telecommunications networks became overloaded and a surge in people seeking information online brought down official websites in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

“Some physical warning systems put in place after 2004, including sirens, failed to work properly. The only siren that blared in Banda Aceh had to be turned on manually after power was cut,“ Prih Harjadi, deputy of geophysics at the Indonesian meteorology agency said.

To improve preparedness, the Indonesian government has pledged to fund the improvement of critical infrastructure, and to increase the number of shelters and tsunami detection devices.

  • Publication date 23 Apr 2012

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