No siren, no warning: Indonesians caught unawares by devastating tsunami

The Guardian view on the Indonesian tsunami: preparing for the worst

Almost 1,400 people are confirmed to have died in the earthquake and tsunami that struck Sulawesi last Friday. Although rescue teams and supplies are reaching survivors in Palu, many in surrounding areas remain desperate for clean water and food. Disasters are sadly familiar in the world’s fourth most populous nation: Indonesia sits on the Ring of Fire and its thousands of islands are strung across hundreds of miles of ocean.

This makes disaster risk planning particularly essential, including through the preparation and maintenance of earthquake-resistant buildings and infrastructure and warning systems. There are reports that parts of the tsunami alert system were not working; that some areas did not have sirens; and that the quake felled transmission towers, so text message warnings were not transmitted. But at least as important may have been the fact that people were not prepared…


Indonesia Needs to Educate on Natural Disasters

Indonesia has once again been hit by a natural disaster. On September 28, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami struck the cities of Palu and Donggala on the island of Sulawesi. At the time of publishing, at least 1,424 people died, with thousands more injured. With homes in ruin, tens of thousands have been forced to live in makeshift refugee camps.

According to Reuters, Indonesia’s geophysics agency, BMKG, lifted a tsunami warning too early, just before the waves hit the coast of Palu. It is also understood that buoys — which are connected to the seafloor to detect tsunamis — in Sulawesi have not worked for the past six years and had not been fixed due to a “lack of funding.” With poor planning in place, Indonesians were left with little notice of an imminent disaster.

As reported by The Guardian, Phil Cummins of the Australian National University and Adam Switzer of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore believe the earthquake and tsunami were not the result of a failure in technology, but rather due to the lack of education among the people….


No siren, no warning: Indonesians caught unawares by devastating tsunami

An aerial view of the destruction caused by an earthquake and liquefaction in the Petabo neighbourhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, October 7, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

When up to six-meter (20-foot) tsunami waves crashed into the Indonesian city of Palu last month, Didiek Wahyudi Kurniawan’s house near the beach was quickly engulfed with water, leaving his wife and two daughters barely any time to escape…


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