Monday, January 10, 2005

"Tsunami patrol: Puerto Rico warning system may expand beyond Caribbean" News story:

"While governments are planning for a global tsunami-warning network in the wake of the South Asia disaster last month, scientists in this seismically volatile region of small and mostly developing nations are discussing a regional component that would cover the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Straits of Florida and the Bahamas.......

"Massive waves slammed into the Dominican Republic in 1946 and the Virgin Islands in 1867, swamping ships, washing away buildings and killing hundreds of islanders.

"The great Atlantic tsunami of 1755, which is thought to have closely resembled the Indian Ocean wave last month that now is blamed for the deaths of more than 150,000, sent swells as high as 20 feet crashing into the Eastern Caribbean..........

"Since that (Indian Ocean) catastrophe, officials around the world have discussed a global network similar to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center operated in Hawaii by the National Weather Service.

"'The tragic losses in the Indian Ocean would certainly have been reduced if a similar alert system had been in place,' said Koïchiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO. 'Anticipating, educating and informing are the keys to reducing the deadly effect of such natural disasters.'

"The United States is advancing such a system on several fronts. The State Department's Global Disaster Information Network is developing a proposal to be presented at the U.N.-sponsored World Conference on Disaster Reduction this month in Japan."

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