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Could a Warning Have Saved Lives?

A German seismologist has said it was possible to issue a warning of the devastating underwater quake that hit South Asia. DW-WORLD readers express their opinions on whether that could have reduced the huge death toll.

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Scene of devastation in southern India

The following comments reflect a cross-section of the views of our readers as received so far. If you would like to have your say on this or another issue, please click on our feedback button below. Not all reader comments will be automatically published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

I think that the claim that no one was available to initiate early warning measures is quite absurd and objectionable indeed. In this age of Internet and mobile telephones, one could have at least contacted some offices like the Prime Minister's Office or some other places like TV stations. At least some lives would have been saved. Of course, one never expects such events especially when something like this has never happened before in recorded history.
It is quite objectionable and disgusting to think how scientists from Western countries can be so oblivious to the fate of thousands of people in Asia. Is it just because they are "Asians?" At least now one knows that the perception of the West has still not changed -- Venkatesh Ramakrishnan

It is quite evident to save many more if we had a warning. Take the earthquake at California -- it was a huge one, but they were prepared for it and hence they were able to save more lives. If we had an early warning we could have saved many more probably, cleared the whole area. But it is quite evident that India doesn't concentrate much on technology and research and today we paid the price for it. Not only should they have warning systems in the sea but won't satellites get photos of the sea and report them quickly? -- Joshua Daniel

Yes, I think an early warning would have saved some lives. But, these kind of disasters are very, very rare in this region. In addition, it being a Sunday and in the early morning, the government machinery also could not do any thing as there is no system to reach and alert living along the sea coasts. -- K Venkat Narayana


Firstly, it is quite impossible to predict a tsunami or an earthquake as there is no scientific tool that can predict these. Tsunamis may be predicted by the measurement of tidal water flow, but even then we would have very little time to warn people because we would need to do so along the entire coast, which is more than a few kilometers long. Is it possible to warn all the people? We could have probably managed to save 500 people among 20,000 people. Yes, I know that one life is a life, I want to say till now we don't have any tool that can save people from such natural calamities. -- Amit Kumar Mondal

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