January 02, 2005

Innocence Lost

Glenn links to a chilling set of eye-witness tsunami photos. These unfortunate people had no idea of the danger they were in, smiling and laughing as they flee the breaking wave they expected to fall back into the sea.

NOTICE:Corey Koberg posts an Update:Aaron R. has succeeded in proving to me that the pictures are not of the tsunami in Asia. Snopes has the scoop. Far from feeling foolish I am relieved that these people are alive and well. Corrections are part and parcel of blogging, and one of the medium's strengths.

It's not just Third World naivete, American shores have been impacted by tsunami as recently as the 1940's, 50's and 60's as well and one wonders just how prepared our coastal communities are for a 20 or 30 ft tsunami. Hawaii, the US Western Seaboard and Mexico may be inviting disaster just as did South Asia with extensive waterfront/shoreline development.

I recall news reports from the 1964 Alaska quake and the resulting devastation left by the tsunami in Alaska and Cresent City, CA, and the 1960 Chilean Earthquake which generated a massive tsunami that struck Hilo Hawaii with devastating results. This eerie photo shows the power of the Chilean tsunami 15 hours later. Hilo was previously struck by a destructive tsunami after the 1946 Aleutian Trench earthquake as well, however, both pale in comparison to the massive loss of life and devastation in South Asia.

If only one positive effect emerges from this disaster, thanks to satellite telecommunications and broadcasting, there will be few corners of the globe where people will innocently run to the shore to watch surf surge now that a heightened awareness of tsunami exists. Perhaps governments have taken a lesson in disaster warning systems, preparedness and building contraints as well.

Posted by feste at January 2, 2005 09:28 AM | TrackBack
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