Could U.S. Have Warned of Tsunami-Risk?

A letter to the editor of the NY Times suggests that the U.S. could have informed Asian leaders of the earthquake risk. I don't know the facts, but the writer does raise an issue that should be investigated thoroughly. Even natural calamaties are not generally beyond human intervention to minimize their impact; our power is that great. The media should be careful not to view this epic disaster as simply the hand of God, inexorable and relentless.

To the Editor:

According to "At Warning Center, Alert for the Quake, None for a Tsunami" (front page, Dec. 28), "one of the few places in the Indian Ocean that got the message of the quake was Diego Garcia, a speck of an island with a United States Navy base." Contacting "appropriate people in Sri Lanka or India was harder."

I can imagine how loud the reaction would be if more than 40,000 Americans had died because of the lack of an early warning system. The fact is, the United States and other countries in the West regard the lives of those in developing countries as cheap and expendable.

While globalization is regarded as something that must be exported, there is silence with respect to the export of precious information that would save lives in other parts of the world.

Sujatha Byravan
Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 28, 2004

Add new comment