Looking for Disaster
Building an early warning system for tsunamis in the Indian Ocean will take massive financial and technical resources, as well as unprecedented cooperation between the concerned countries, writes Alan Dodson in the Bangkok Post.
"Thailand does not need a national tsunami warning centre," he writes. "It does need a general disaster centre to sift evidence and scientific information to warn intelligently and react far more quickly and aggressively when disaster strikes. The onset of three recent medical disasters show how much Thailand does need general disaster planning and warning systems. The initial responses to Aids, Sars and avian flu were as timorous as the tsunami watch. Authorities issued no warnings until well after the disasters were already established, ingrained and killing. In each case, the signs were there but a combination of denial and timidity allowed the disasters to gain the upper hand. The cost of installing and manning a national disaster centre based on dependable international monitors is a fraction of the cost of rehabilitation of the physical losses in the South _ which in turn are just a fraction of the human toll."