Gongol.com > Food for Thought > December 2004
Gongol.com Archives: December 2004

Weather and Disasters (12.28.2004)
Tsunami Death Toll Over 68,000
10,000 killed in a single Indonesian town. China promises $2.6 million in relief aid, the US has already promised $35 million with more to come. Australia's in for $27 million. The entire EU has promised only a small fraction of what the US is sending. Possibly the most outrageous result of the disaster is Sri Lanka's refusal of help from Israel. It was a 150-person rescue team being offered, and the local government turned them away. Photos of the disaster are astonishing. At least as many people could die of disease and starvation as were killed in the initial event, of which NOAA has a very instructive graphic. A US Navy carrier group is on the way to help with relief efforts, though it's worthwhile to be concerned that unscrupulous groups may try to use the disaster and resulting disarray to achieve strategic and military goals. Early guesses put the damage figures at over $13 billion. The amount of mass that moved was enough to shorten the earth's period of rotation by 1/10,000th of a second. A large part of the solution is very simple and very low-tech: Teaching locals to evacuate to higher ground when the telltale signs start to appear. But even much of California is unprepared for tsunami disasters. The world will only be inviting future disaster if we insist on a strictly hierarchical model for distributing warnings instead of putting some network thinking to the task.

The American Way (12.28.2004)
Ukraine Sends Big "No" to Yanukovych
2.3 million votes -- a 7-percentage-point margin of victory for the free-market reformer Yushchenko. Chalk up one apparent victory for freedom. Civil war averted, and now the hard-liner will try to become the opposition leader. If fax machines helped end the Soviet Union, the Internet certainly gave the Orange Revolution a boost.

Weather and Disasters (12.28.2004)
In Case of Disaster, Call
Because this is an imperfect world, another disaster like the Indian Ocean tsunami is inevitable. Should someone have advance knowledge of a possible disaster (as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center apparently did) with no set protocol for disseminating that information, here's a quick list of places to contact in order to get the word out quickly. Please share widely.
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