Stone Age Warning System

Via Bloomberg.com: Asian Goverments Raise Tsunami Alert Using Faxes, Local Media

Asian governments relied on phone calls, faxes and the media to alert citizens of a possible tsunami after a magnitude 8.7 earthquake struck near Sumatra, in the absence of an alert network they promised to build.

 “After we received the readings on the earthquake we contacted all government institutions by fax and by telephones, but we couldn’t contact officials in Nias and the other affected islands because communications were cut,” said Budi Waluyo, an official in Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency. “From then on, we only heard and read from the media.”

Oh, and there’s that bit about the quake hitting in the middle of the night, when no one would have been around anyway. And another thing…what happens if someone forgets to load new paper in the fax machine?

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