2nd Tsunami: too slow or too fast a warning?

13 09 2007

tsunami.jpg My sister received a telephone call from a relative who stays in Phuket at about 08.30pm last night warning that 2nd Tsunami in southern Thailand was on its way from Sumatar Island, Indonesia. Most of local people left their home and ran up to the highland. I jokingly told my sister that it could not be so serious as the television channel we were watching did not announce any warning. Of course, we actually were worried and confused as to where they learned about the 2nd tsunami. We did not need to wait long. About one hour later, Mr. Smith Thammasarote, a former Senior forecaster at Thailand’s Meteorological Department, appeared on television and announced that while other foreign tsunami warning centres like the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and the National Disaster Warning Centre issued a tsunami alert in the six southern provinces along the Andaman Sea coast after a massive earthquake struck off the west coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, Thailand did not issue a tsunami alert because they knew that such incidence would not affect Thailand.

This shows a typical nature of Thai. The official will keep any national risk a secret unless and until it is necessary to reveal it. While the delayed announcement about the possibility of 2nd tsunami was done with a good intention and with the certainty after close observation that it would not happen, personally I think, people who live in those six provinces in the South should have been informed by the national Meteorological Department of the development much earlier. People were and are afraid of repeated disaster. They will listen to any source of information as it concerns their life.


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