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harbour wave 1

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No snow today; Nature isn’t doing much in this part of the world, but She has been having her fun in South East Asia, hasn’t She? Undersea earthquakes off the coast of Sumatra have triggered massive tsunamis that swamped the Maldives and the coasts of Sri Lanka, south-east India, and Indonesia. The official death toll has just passed 10,000, in those areas we have communication with. When I looked at a map of the region, one thing struck me straight away: large coastal areas of Myanmar (Burma) are right in the firing line, yet we have no information coming out of there at all, I suspect because its totalitarian regime does not allow foreign journalists or communication with foreign news services. I expect the death toll to rise considerably over the next few days.

Speaking of communication: the western affected areas could have had over two hours of advance warning, considering how far away they were from the epicentre of the earthquakes, the largest of which was estimated at 8.9 (Richter scale). What about satellites monitoring the oceans, radioed reports from ships in the region, anything? No, the first warning received by the people on the east coast of Sri Lanka came from the good old Mark I Eyeball, which did not leave much time for evacuation. Bangladesh was only mildly affected because it is even further away than the other areas, but that was luck.

In these areas, with their histories of monsoon-related flooding, I have to ask: why on Earth do people continue to live near the treacherous coastlines, or on the banks of flood-prone rivers like the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Mississippi, or Yangtze? Nature’s not a bitch, this is simply all she can do to relieve her stresses, she takes as much notice of us as a freight train would.


Written by brian t

December 26, 2004 at 6:00 pm

Posted in life

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