Tsunami preparedness report
| 06.16.2006 | 07:58:03 | Views: 2839 | ID:
June 16 '06: States along the Pacific Coast could see a drop in federal funding because of changes in homeland security and disaster funds while a report released has found an over-emphasis on technology rather than educational programs according to the Seattle Times. "Much of the $35 million in extra money appropriated after the disastrous Indonesian tsunami is being spent on detection and warning systems that will be of little benefit to people on the Pacific Coast," the Times found in a report released by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO report, entitled: "US Tsunamis Preparedness: Federal and State Partners Collaborate to Help Communities reduce Potential Impacts, but Significant Challenges Remain," found that "Although federal warning centers quickly detect potential tsunamis and issue warning, false alarms and warning system limitations hamper their effectiveness." Instead of a reliance on more technology and money, the GAO said public education and tsunami drills will be more effective.Additionally, the federal government is considering expanding the funding for tsunami mitigation and disbursement of money. "Now, five Pacific states each get about $275,000 a year from the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. But next year, up to 23 states and territories will be eligible to apply for a share," the Times reported. "If risk assessments are based on population, a city like New York might jump to the head of the list, even though odds of a tsunami there are extremely low." The GAO report found along the Pacific Coast that many "key educational efforts, such as distributing evacuation maps and developing school curricula have not been consistently implemented. In addition, few states and communities protect critical infrastructure from tsunamis through land-use and building design restriction." In brief, the report found: "The coastal areas of the five states bordering the Pacific Ocean and US territories in the Caribbean face the greatest tsunami hazard, but reliable and comprehensive assessments of the potential impacts on people and infrastructure have not been completed for many of these areas."
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