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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Friday, April 01, 2005

Tsunami scare & Lessons to learn

Sent by Ajith Cooray
The general public was informed of a possible Tsunami threat through the media on the night of 28th march. People living close to the costal line were told to move in to the inland as far as 2km. The TV stations continued to broad cast the up dates even after their schedule closing time. The President & The Prime minister came on air.
People were scared & panicked. Telephones were jammed since every body started calling their friends & relatives. Since it was in the night many would have thought their loved ones could be a sleep. Few deaths were reported. After 3hrs. It was reported that there is no Tsunami situation.
It is sad three months after the Tsunami we still do not have a system (civil defense system) in place as to how the citizens of this country should act in a Tsunami situation, in an earth quake or floods.
Such systems should be simple to understand and follow, with optimum effect.

• Initial wakeup call (alert)
• Listen to broadcast
• Do’s
• Monitoring
• Back home

Initial wakeup call (alert)
Incorporate the places of worship where people first run to, in to the system. Look in to the possibility of using the “Bells” in these places to alert, If there are factories around workout a system to blow their sirens.

Listen to broadcast
Workout a centralized broadcast system for TV & Radio so that people could listen to one message & not conflicting messages & instructions.

What to take
What to look for
What to check before you leave
Where to move (go)
Move to safe location (These could be pre identified locations)

Stay put
Listen to news
Avoid rumors
Listen to dead lines

Back home
Come back once dead lines have passed


• Workout the System
• Educate the public
• Conduct drills

Workout the System
Get participation from Civil defense personnel

Educate the public
Print & Electronic Media
Village level gatherings
Posters & Leaflets

Conduct drills
Street level manageable units


Everything has a cost. Cost of prevention is less than cost of rebuilding the lives & families.
Will the Politicians and the civil society attend to this urgent need before it is too late again?

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