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Focus on earthquake preparedness, not prediction JAKARTA - Predicting earthquakes is an inexact science - which is why disaster preparedness remains key to saving lives, scientists say. Experts have forecast that a long undersea faultline along Indonesia's Sumatra Island is due to produce a powerful and devastating earthquake in the next few decades.

Sections of the fault, called the Sunda megathrust, have ruptured a number of times over the past decade, causing several earthquakes in the region. A major earthquake could trigger a tsunami that could result in casualties and damage equal to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, writes Kerry Sieh, a scientist at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, in an article made available.

"To those living in harm's way on the coasts of western Sumatra, it should be useful to know that the next great earthquake and tsunami are likely to occur within the next few decades, well within the lifetimes of children and young adults living there now," the article states. A magnitude 7.9 earthquake that devastated West Sumatra province and killed more than 1,100 people on 30 September originated near that faultline, according to experts.

"We don't know when such a great earthquake will happen. It could be tomorrow, next year or the next five years," said Fauzi, head of the Earthquake Center at the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency in Jakarta, who like many Indonesians only uses one name. "It will be much more beneficial if we focus on preparedness. Earthquakes don't kill, but collapsed buildings do," he told.

Fauzi said between 1991 and 2009, Indonesia was hit by 43 major earthquakes, 15 of which generated tsunamis. The 30 September quake in West Sumatra resulted in a tsunami, though it was very small, he said.

Predicting earthquakes is also a sensitive issue in Indonesia and false rumours could create panic, Fauzi warned. "When scientists say an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 is likely to occur based on scientific findings, people refuse to go to school or work and SMS relatives," he said. "The public talks about tomorrow, while scientists talk about years."


Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake') Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake'):
25 November 2009 · First aid and disaster training in Papua
21 November 2009 · Survey: 'Buildings on shaky ground in event of another quake'
12 November 2009 · W. Sumatra earthquake damages 65 cultural heritage sites
09 November 2009 · 6.7 magnitude earthquake hits Nusa Tenggara
06 November 2009 · West Sumatra quake survivors lack water and sanitation
03 November 2009 · More aid for West Sumatra quake victims

Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake') Tags: prediciton, preparedness


Posted in Earthquake @ 28 November 2009 02:05 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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