TSUNAMI...What Do We Do With It?

Just this Saturday, another earthquake of 6.5 magnitude has hit Indonesia again. This time the jolt was spotted somewhere in Sulawesi, within the eastern region of Indonesia. We are lucky that the ramblings of the earth's core did not reach Tsunami scale this time around, because its epicenter is facing Pacific Ocean, which would have endangered our southern coasts.

No one could possibly forget that tsunami disaster just three months ago and everytime there are reported movements of the earth, we could not help but scurry and fear for what might happen. According to reports, Indonesia have been experiencing numerous aftershocks ever since that fateful day when hundreds of thousand of lives were taken by the vicious tide.

It makes me ask what exactly are we doing with this problem? We know that the United Nations has called for a world conference in Tokyo last January just to tackle the means and methods on how to deal with tsunami disasters in the future but have we heard what they have got to say? The outcome of the said conference was too general to comprehend and not sufficient to forewarn ordinary people on the things to do in case this sort of disaster happens again. Among their recommendation was, "to share weather data, formulate response strategies, and set up clean-up and relief funds". They may still be formulating the strategies when another disaster strikes.

In my view, these things must be done:

One: The government should identify the coastal areas most frequented by people.

Two: Put a warning system on the area. There is a Tsunami Alert System available.

Three: If the No. 2 suggestion is costly, put some sort of a cheaper warning system were a person assigned especially for this task could belch out in a loudspeaker about the oncoming danger. Of course, that person must have at least some radio contact from geological agencies such as PAGASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Four: Build a ultra-strong elevated platform that could carry hundreds of people. This is where the beach-goers could run if the disaster strikes.

Putting up the Tsunami Alert System may take at least two years and it is a little costly but areas like Boracay and Phuket, places that attracts visitors by the thousands, should have one. Let us remember, most of those who were saved from the tidal waves were people who happened to be in highly-elevated buildings when the water suddenly rose.

In Sri Lanka, most of those who perished were not beach-goers but people who were going about with their daily tasks. Apparently, the seawater strucked deep into the mainland. In these kind of places, the government in the area should put up a warning system that could be heard throughout the city, like a wailing siren with a distinctive sound. Continous education of the inhabitants is of course a major part of this simpler alert system.This could be put up also in low-lying cities like Manila, Cebu or Zamboanga.

I must admit that in the end, there is no amount of warning and preparation that could fight back the fear and devastation brought about by a deceitful disaster like tsunami but if we take enough precautions, any damage may be lessened quite extensively.

Every now and then, as I go to beaches and other low-lying areas, my mind searches for the question, "What would I do now if huge tidal waves suddenly strike the area from which i was standing?". Then my mind automatically looks for a high and strong concrete platform to which I can run to and seek refuge. So maybe, famous beaches should put that elevated concrete platform that could save many lives if such disaster happens. Like for example in Boracay.

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