Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami warning halted ‘for tourist industry’

This from the Swedish paper Expressen. Translation by RAW STORY excerpted here.

Just minutes after the earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Sunday morning, Thailand’s foremost meteorological experts were sitting together in a crisis meeting. But they decided not to warn about the tsunami “out of courtesy to the tourist industry,” writes the Thailand daily newspaper The Nation.

The experts got the news around 8:00 am on Sunday morning local time. An hour later, the first massive wave struck. But the experts started to discuss the economic impacts when they discussed if a tsunami warning should be issued.

The primary argument against such a warning was that there had not been any floods in 300 years. Also, the experts believed the Indonesian island Sumatra would be a “cushion” for the southern coast of Thailand. The experts also had bad information; they thought the tremor was 8.1. A similar earthquake occurred in the same area in 2002 with no flooding at all.

One expert The Nation spoke with also noted that the department had only four earthquake experts among their
900-strong meteorological department. A second told The Nation that a tsunami warning was discussed but that because of the risk, they opted not to issue a warning.

“We finally decided not to do anything because the tourist season was in full swing,” the source said. “The hotels were 100 percent booked. What if we issued a warning, which would have led to an evacuation, and nothing had happened. What would be the outcome? The tourist industry would be immediately hurt. Our department would not be able to endure a lawsuit.”

This story was first noted and originally translated at
Democratic Underground.

Bagaimana dengan kerajaan Malaysia dalam menangani isu ini pula? Adakah ianya sama seperti Thailand? Apapun apa yang paling penting buat masa ini adalah untuk menghulurkan segala bantuan yang termampu kepada mangsa Tsunami di Malaysia dan negara-negara lain.

Ketepikan isu politik dan kata-kata bala dari Tuhan daripada individu-individu yang seolah-olah mahir mentafsir niat Tuhan. Apa yang jelas setiap bencana yang menimpa kita pasti ada pertolongan dan Alhamduliillah! masyarakat antarabangsa segera menghulurkan bantuan. Itulah yang dinamakan semangat kemanusiaan.

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