Who says no one was warned about the tsunami threat in South Asia?
A leading California geologist repeatedly warned Indonesian officials that an earthquake and tsunami would soon strike their shores, it emerged this weekend.
Kerry Sieh, professor of geology at the California Institute of Technology who has studied the region for nearly a decade, was so frustrated in his attempts to get the attention of Asia’s leaders that, in desperation, he began handing out fliers, posters and brochures to residents of the islands worst hit by the waves.
He spoke at churches and schools to tell people what to do in an earthquake.
Sieh had been due to meet Indonesian officials last month to discuss a wider education program, but the meeting was reportedly canceled at the last minute by the officials.
Just one week before the devastating 9.0 quake and tsunami, he spoke at a conference in San Francisco, explaining how a big earthquake and tsunami were overdue in the region.
“No one can predict exactly when an earthquake will happen, but it was clear that this area was at relatively high risk and such an event would definitely happen one day,” he said after the devastation. “We told them it would kill people, wreck infrastructure and destroy livelihoods. But our warnings were falling on deaf ears. My team and I decided to bypass the national and local government and start warning people directly. I hope our efforts saved some lives.”
Sieh believes this means another quake could be on the way: “There is some evidence that the stresses on the tectonic plates south of the epicenter may now have increased and raised the chances of another major earthquake.”