Did NOAA fail to warn South Asian countries?

Published December 29, 2004 5:19PM (EST)

Debate over whether U.S. scientists failed to alert South Asian countries that a tsunami may be cresting toward their shores has taken on a harsher edge today. As early as Saturday, instruments at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, registered signs that a "significant earthquake had occurred off the west coast of northern Sumatra," it admitted in a statement. On Tuesday, Charles McCreery, director of the center, told the Los Angeles Times,"We don't have contacts in our address book for anybody in that part of the world." As the Boston Globe reports today, that comment apparently does not sit well with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who has launched an investigation into NOAA procedures: Snowe is "exploring and looking into why NOAA was not able to provide this valuable, life-saving information to the 11 affected nations," the Senator's spokeswoman, Antonia Ferrier, told the Globe.

By Kevin Berger

Kevin Berger is the former features editor at Salon.

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