Last thought of 2004: devastated Asia

Sensationalist maybe, but the Sun carries a devastating set of photographs that stands in for many thousands of people’s lives in the face of a devastating natural diaster. The Economist gives it’s leader over to a reflection on the scale of the disaster – which still seems not have registered with a lot of people. As part of a special reports their science correspondent looks breifly at what might be done in advance of another such incidence:The advice seems simple, banal even. But the facts seems straight forward enough: in such an event, communication is all:

Even if you have an effective detection system, though, it is useless if you cannot evacuate a threatened area. Here, speed is of the essence. Computer modelling can help show which areas are likely to be safest, but common sense is often the best guide—run like the wind, away from the sea. Evacuation warnings, too, should be easy to give as long as people are awake. Radios are ubiquitous, even in most poor places. It is just a matter of having systems in place to tell the radio stations to tell people to run. The problem was that no one did.