Friday, April 13, 2012

Tsunami warning system stolen in Aceh

Days after Aceh dodged a bullet when two massive earthquakes failed to trigger a potentially devastating tsunami, it emerged that the country’s tsunami early warning system has been compromised by scavengers stealing and selling its parts.

Research and Technology Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said some of the instruments from the system had parts missing, while other instruments had just disappeared.

He said people were stealing the parts and then selling them. “There are a lot of people stealing parts from the tsunami early warning system, leading the device to malfunction,” he said.

The system includes buoys off the coast of Sumatra with sensors that can detect an approaching tsunami. Gusti said the government was working with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and the US government to develop submerged devices.

“We hope that it will be safer this way. People will no longer be able to steal the parts,” he said. “We are also going to educate people about the equipment because it is essential to detect a tsunami early, and have the equipment working.” - Jakarta Globe