Page EfsEssayJohnnyJustSuppose

Excerpt of the essay "Just suppose it was us ..." by Sir David King

(each line refers to one paragraph in linear order started from the beginning)


"We take nature for granted" or at least "we think we know how to keep it at bay."

Just in case of an earthquake that "causes countless deaths and devastation [...] we are reminded of our vulnerability and frailty."

Besides the actual catastrophe, there are many historical examples - especially in Indonesia - on tectonic catastrophes that claimed many lives.

Though nowadays prediction theories are still to be developed, we have at least - in case of tsunamis - a short lag time before the catastrophe takes place.

With relatively simple methods we may use this lag time for early warning systems to reduce the number of deaths.

In case of the Sumatran earthquake "there was no system" and "frantic attempts to communicate with authorities achieved little."

But also in the Atlantic there may be serious threat to the coasts of Africa, Europe and America.

Therefore King endorses the "calling for an early-warning system for the North Atlantic".

This would enclude the development of an "intergovernmental panel of geophysical scientists [that] should develop a global foresight programme to co-ordinate scientific knowledge and research programmes in the area of tectonic catastrophes".

King concludes that "we need to move towards an effective global system of surveillance and response to minimise the risks to populations from these terrestrial catastrophes which are beyond our control."



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