Friday, December 31, 2004

Wondering if someone dropped the ball 

Agency answers critics over no tsunami warning:
"Fifteen minutes after Sunday's quake near Sumatra, NOAA fired off a bulletin from Hawaii to 26 Pacific nations that now make up the International Coordination Group for the Tsunami Warning System, alerting them of the quake but saying they faced no threat of a tsunami. Fifty minutes later, the U.S. agency upgraded the severity of the quake and again said there was no tsunami threat in the Pacific, but identified the possibility of a tsunami near the quake's epicenter in the Indian Ocean. After nearly another half hour, NOAA contacted emergency officials in Australia as a backstop, knowing they would quickly contact their counterparts in Indonesia . . . 'The fact that the potential danger rose to the level of prompting a swift warning to two nations, while others could be faced with a potentially devastating impact, raises serious questions,' the Senate oceans subcommittee chair, Sen. Olympia Snowe, of Maine, said in a letter to Lautenbacher. Lautenbacher said there was only so much NOAA can do. "
Far be it for me to criticize, but I have wondered about this -- it took me less than five minutes to find the phone numbers for the US ambassadors to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc. in the CIA Factbook. Even on Christmas Day, I think someone likely would have answered the phone . . .

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