Another missed warning?

Published December 30, 2004 7:23PM (EST)

The tsunami-warning blame game -- could the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have done a better job alerting Indian Ocean countries after learning of the earthquake? -- takes a new turn Thursday. The Washington Post reports that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, based in Vienna, surely would have picked up the earthquake "but it had no chance to alert governments in the region because its offices were closed for the holidays." In fact, the network doesn't even possess a communication system capable of channeling early warning signals to the region. Should it? Writes the Post: "Bernard Massinon, a French seismologist who serves as scientific adviser to the test ban organization, said the agency's seismic stations -- including eight in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka -- could technically be linked to an early warning system for earthquakes and tsunamis if member states decided to do it. 'Could we help by providing real-time data from this network?" he said. "The answer should be yes.'"

By Kevin Berger

Kevin Berger is the former features editor at Salon.

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