Indonesia Taking Steps to Reduce Tsunami Casualties

July 30, 2006

Indonesia plans to build elevated safety zones in low-lying coastal areas to help reduce casualties in the event of another tsunami, a government official said.

Concrete walls or artificial hills will be created in resort areas on the islands of Bali, Sumatra and Java, and other areas deemed at risk, said Burhanuddin, a Culture and Tourism Ministry spokesman who uses a single name.

Two deadly tsunamis have hit Indonesia in less than 18 months, most recently on July 17 when more than 600 people were killed along Java’s south coast, many of them in the popular resort town of Pangandaran.

The 2004 Asian tsunami killed 213,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean, the bulk of them on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

In the event of a tsunami, people should be directed to the safe areas protected by high concrete walls, which will be within 20 minutes of their homes or hotels, Burhanuddin said.

The government, which has been criticized for failing to pass along tsunami warnings in this month’s disaster, has been developing a tsunami warning system with monitoring buoys, but the project has been hampered by poor funding and technical difficulties.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.