- Thousands of fatalities from an Indonesian tsunami were
"largely avoidable, cheaply" had only a few million dollars been
spent for a globalized tsunami warning network, says the author of a
book about high-tech defenses against giant earthquakes and
- Our Molecular Future (Prometheus Books 2002) by Douglas
Mulhall describes how advanced technologies could prevent wholesale loss
of life such as that seen in the Christmas catastrophe.
- The book forecasted that it would take such a globalized
catastrophe to shake governments and industries into using inexpensive,
cutting edge technology to prevent so much death.
- "Now we'll see if this one is big enough to force
globalized solutions," Mulhall said. "We have globalized tourism,
oil, and other industries - it's time for a globalized tsunami detection
network. It's a lot cheaper than the loss of life we've seen here"
- "The world science community has been calling for
a globalized tsunami detection network for years and no one heard them,
especially the tourism industry whose millions of customers are at risk,
and western governments whose nationals are at risk when they visit seaside
communities, or aid agencies who have to clean up the mess" Mulhall
- "What's maddening about this disaster" he said,
"is that we don't have to wait for new technologies - everything is
available right now."
- "The idea that tsunami preparedness is expensive
is a ludicrous myth," he emphasized. "Look at how many millions
of dollars the aid agencies have already come up with in a day. Just a
fraction of that would have prevented such vast death."
- Mulhall added that developing nation governments around
the Indian Ocean are far from the only ones to blame for the refusal to
fund such inexpensive systems. Western nations as much as developing
"must be held accountable" for the massive yet avoidable loss
of life because they have billions of dollars invested and millions of
citizens visiting in the region.
- Mulhall also chastized aid agencies for "failing
to step up to the plate with an ounce of prevention to prevent a pound
- "This was waiting to happen" said Mulhall.
"The risks have been there all along. They knew about them and had
been told about them. A few million dollars would have done
- Mulhall pointed out that some of the infrastructures
are already in place because most ports are required to have tide measuring
devices in place. This is a primitive but effective early warning for other
ports in the path of tsunami, if the devices are tied together
which is relatively inexpensive. "But that's just a small part of
what could be an effective yet inexpensive network," he hastened to
- Mulhall harshly criticized "lame excuses already
being hatched" by western governments and other agencies. "It
is nonsense to say that this was a surprise. Every big tsunami is a
but that doesn't mean we can't plan to survive them. Especially in
they are regular phenomena."
- Mulhall pointed out that thousands have died in Indonesia
over the past generation due to tsunami.
- For more information email