The Ghost of Snapped Shot

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NIGHTMARE: Tsunami hits Solomon Islands!

Initial reports are indicating that we're not seeing a repeat of the Boxing Day tsunami of a little over two years ago, but with a 10-foot-high wave, it is still a nightmare scenario:

HONIARA, Solomon Islands - A bone-rattling undersea earthquake sparked a tsunami that sent 10-foot-high waves crashing into parts of the Solomon Islands on Monday, wiping out one village and killing at least 13 people. The death toll was expected to rise.

Large waves struck the western town of Gizo, inundating buildings and causing widespread destruction within five minutes of the earthquake.

"There wasn't any warning — the warning was the earth tremors," Alex Lokopio, the premier of the Solomon's Western Province, told New Zealand's National Radio. "It shook us very, very strongly and we were frightened, and all of a sudden the sea was rising up."

So far, 13 people are confirmed dead, and "dozens" are missing. My prayers are with the victims and their families. I'll be tracking photos of this disaster in the extended body of this article, so be sure to continue reading for more details.

Update: The death toll has been increased to 15 dead, potentially "hundreds" missing:

A LARGE-SCALE relief effort will be launched today to deliver aid to thousands of Solomon Islanders left homeless after a tsunami in the Pacific nation left hundreds missing when it washed away entire villages.

At least 15 people were last night confirmed dead after 10m waves struck some of the Solomons' most remote western provinces early yesterday, sending a wall of water 500m inland.

Thankfully, the waves hit during the day, and it would seem that Australia and the rest of the South Pacific have not been hit by the tsunami.

Here's an eerie eyewitness account.

Update: The tsunami threat in the Pacific has ended, and the donations are beginning to filter in from overseas. It's interesting to note that many parts of the tsunami warning system, which was improved after the Boxing Day disaster, have worked magnificently, and even if part of the warning turned out to be unnecessary, it still performed admirably. Let that be a reminder that the science of catastrophic-event prediction still consists of a large proportion of "voodoo."

Correction: A Blog for All points out that there were some failures in the warning system:

Reports from Gizo are coming in and they're suggesting that there were no tsunami warnings issued and reports from other areas are slow coming in because of communications problems.

I'd still say it performed very well, considering how fast the alerts to other nations in the region were transmitted.

Update: The Australian Labour party is using this disaster to gain support for creating a "regional" disaster coordination body. I'd think that "coordination" would be a good thing, unless there's going to be a nameless, faceless, wholly unaccountable bureaucracy involved. If any of y'all have any thoughts on the pros and cons of this type of centre, please feel free to chime in down in the comments section!

Update: It's now the 3rd of April, and the death toll is still hovering around 30, with "thousands" left homeless. There is no official estimate on the number of people missing, but the total population of the Western region of the Islands seems to be roughly 51,357 people, so it looks like the people of the Solomon Islands are far more fortunate than their Indonesian compatriots of two years ago.

The United States has promised $250,000 in recovery aid to the Islands, and aid from other nations is starting to reach there, which leads to the obligatory "it's not enough." When is it ever enough? Aid may be slow, but it's coming—and with that, it seems that the Islands are starting to pick up the pieces at this point, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

It is interesting to note how little coverage this story got in the blogosphere—which seems to support my little theory that "good news" is as equally "no news" in the blogosphere as it is in the sensationalist media. Very interesting, but otherwise merely an unscientific observation for the mental files. It is good news that the citizens of Solomon Islands were as fortunate as they were, and that's all that matters for now.

Blogroll: A Blog for All, PajamasMedia.

A man sits on the wharf watching ships leaving the harbour in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, after a tsunami warning April 2, 2007. (Stringer/Reuters)


A Catholic church in Gizo is damaged after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the Solomon Island's second biggest town April 2, 2007, killing more than 12 people, damaging houses, villages and buildings and leaving more than 2,000 people homeless. REUTERS/Justin Anderson (SOLOMON ISLANDS)


A housing area for government workers is destroyed in Gizo, the second-largest town in the Solomon Islands, after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the area in Western Province April 2, 2007, killing more than 12 people, damaging houses, villages and buildings and leaving more than 2,000 people homeless. REUTERS/Justin Anderson SOLOMON ISLANDS)


A local transport boat is grounded on a street outside a market (L) in Gizo, the second-largest town in the Solomon Islands, after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the area in Western Province April 2, 2007, killing more than 12 people, damaging houses, villages and buildings and leaving more than 2,000 people homeless. REUTERS/Danny Kennedy (SOLOMON ISLANDS).


A wave as high as 10 feet struck the Solomon Islands after an earthquake, devastating at least one village. (KITV, Renee Ishisaka)


(No attribution/KTVU)


A video grab shows an aerial view of damage after a tsunami and an earthquake hit the Solomon Islands, April 3, 2007. Aid workers warned of a humanitarian crisis on Tuesday in the earthquake and tsunami-shattered Solomon Islands, where food and medicine were in short supply for thousands of people left homeless. REUTERS/Australian Pool via Reuters TV (SOLOMON ISLANDS) AUSTRALIA OUT


Residents walk past destroyed homes after Monday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the Solomon islands, in this image made from television, Tuesday, April 3, 2007. The quake, the strongest in the Solomons in more than three decades, set off tsunami alarms from Tokyo to Hawaii and closed beaches along the east coast of Australia more than 1,250 miles away. Police said Tuesday at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was likely to rise further as an aerial assessment was made of the western island of Gizo and surrounding villages where only scattered radio reports have been collected so far. (AP Photo/APTN)


Residents look up at a helicopter over head as they stand near homes destroyed after Monday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the Solomon islands, in this image made from television, Tuesday, April 3, 2007. The quake, the strongest in the Solomons in more than three decades, set off tsunami alarms from Tokyo to Hawaii and closed beaches along the east coast of Australia more than 1,250 miles away. Police said Tuesday at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was likely to rise further as an aerial assessment was made of the western island of Gizo and surrounding villages where only scattered radio reports have been collected so far. (AP Photo/APTN)


A video grab shows an aerial view of damage after a tsunami and an earthquake hit the Solomon Islands, April 3, 2007. REUTERS/Australian Pool via Reuters TV


An aerial view of destruction left by Monday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami, is seen in this image made from television, Tuesday, April 3, 2007, in the western Solomon Islands. The quake, the strongest in the Solomons in more than three decades, set off tsunami alarms from Tokyo to Hawaii and closed beaches along the east coast of Australia more than 1,250 miles away. Police said Tuesday at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was likely to rise further as an aerial assessment was made of the western island of Gizo and surrounding villages where only scattered radio reports have been collected so far. (AP Photo/APTN)


REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINE A general view shows a building flattened after being hit by a tsunami in the Malakerava area of the town of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands April 2, 2007. A humanitarian crisis triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami threatened thousands of homeless people in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday as aid began to trickle in and powerful aftershocks rattled the country. Picture taken April 2, 2007. REUTERS/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Commission (SOLOMON ISLANDS).


REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINE Residents of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands take shelter under trees in a yard serving as a temporary hospital after the regular hospital was damaged by a powerful earthquake April 2, 2007. A humanitarian crisis triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami threatened thousands of homeless people in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday as aid began to trickle in and powerful aftershocks rattled the country. Picture taken April 2, 2007. REUTERS/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Commission (SOLOMON ISLANDS).


Residents take shelter after Monday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the Solomon islands, in this image made from television, Tuesday, April 3, 2007. The quake, the strongest in the Solomons in more than three decades, set off tsunami alarms from Tokyo to Hawaii and closed beaches along the east coast of Australia more than 1,250 miles away. Police said Tuesday at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was likely to rise further as an aerial assessment was made of the western island of Gizo and surrounding villages where only scattered radio reports have been collected so far. (AP Photo/APTN)


Children take shelter after Monday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the Solomon islands, in this image made from television, Tuesday, April 3, 2007. The quake, the strongest in the Solomons in more than three decades, set off tsunami alarms from Tokyo to Hawaii and closed beaches along the east coast of Australia more than 1,250 miles away. Police said Tuesday at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was likely to rise further as an aerial assessment was made of the western island of Gizo and surrounding villages where only scattered radio reports have been collected so far. (AP Photo/APTN)


A general view shows part of a jetty lying on a fence overlooking the harbour in the town of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands April 3, 2007, after a powerful earthquake and tsunami that has killed at least 20 people and left thousands homeless. A humanitarian crisis triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami threatened thousands of homeless people in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday as aid began to trickle in and powerful aftershocks rattled the country. REUTERS/Dive Gizo (SOLOMON ISLANDS).


Residents of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands look to move a boat Tuesday, April 3, 2007, that was washed ashore after a tsunami hit their town on Monday April 2. Thousands of people in the town of Gizo in the South Pacific country's far west spent Monday night sleeping under tarpaulins or the stars on a hill behind the town following a massive undersea earthquake that sent tsunami waves crashing through the town. (AP Photo/Dave Gizo)


A house in the Western Province of Gizo in the Solomon Islands lies collapsed on a road Tuesday, April 3, 2007, after a tsunami hit the town on Monday April 2. Thousands of people in the town of Gizo in the South Pacific country's far west spent Monday night sleeping under tarpaulins or the stars on a hill behind the town following a massive undersea earthquake that sent tsunami waves crashing through the town. (AP Photo/Dave Gizo)


Residents of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands look at boats over turned in the harbor Tuesday, April 3, 2007, that were washed ashore after a tsunami hit the town on Monday April 2. Thousands of people in the town of Gizo in the South Pacific country's far west spent Monday night sleeping under tarpaulins or the stars on a hill behind the town following a massive undersea earthquake that sent tsunami waves crashing through the town. (AP Photo/Dave Gizo)


A resident looks at the damage on Ghizo Island after the region was hit by several strong earthquakes and a tsunami, 2 April. Rescuers were scrambling to rush critical aid to this outpost of the Solomon Islands, where thousands of people made homeless by a tsunami were sleeping out, fearing a fresh disaster.(AFP/Danny Kennedy)


Workers in the town of Munda in the Solomon Islands, Wednesday, April 4, 2007, load Red Cross relief supplies on a boat bound for the island of Gizo, reported to be one of the worse hit by Monday's earthquake and tsunami. Relief workers reported the first signs of disease Wednesday among survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, while aftershocks hampered efforts to get aid to survivors running low on food and water. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands RAMSI radio technician Graham Wise prepares supplies at an airfield at Munda in the Solomon Islands before relief operations in the earthquake hit and tsunami affected Western Province April 4, 2007. Thousands of people left homeless by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands may not get help for another two days, the government warned, as rescuers struggled to reach remote villages. REUTERS/RAMSI/Handout (SOLOMON ISLANDS).


People rest in a make-shift hospital camp in the town of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands April 4, 2007. Thousands of people left homeless by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands may not get help for another two days, the government warned, as rescuers struggled to reach remote villages. REUTERS/Dive Gizo (SOLOMON ISLANDS).


A view of a devastated beach on Ghizo Island after the region was hit by several strong earthquakes and a tsunami. Rescuers are scrambling to rush critical aid to this outpost of the Solomon Islands where thousands of people have been made homeless.(AFP/Danny Kennedy)


A video grab shows a tourist wading through incoming sea water after an earthquake triggered a tsunami in the region, west of Munda, Solomon Islands, April 2, 2007. (Amateur Video via Reuters TV/Reuters)


A video grab shows tourists trying to avoid oncoming waves after an earthquake triggered a tsunami in the region, west of Munda, Solomon Islands, April 2, 2007. (Amateur Video via Reuters TV/Reuters)


A video grab shows a local of the Solomon Islands who has been left homeless after a huge earthquake and tsunami resting in the shade in the town of Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands April 3, 2007. (Australian Pool via Reuters TV/Reuters)


Debris float in the main street after high water from a tsunami caused by an earth quake that hit the south Pacific subsided in the early hours of the morning on Monday, April 2. 2007 in the village of Noro in the Solomon Islands. Parts of the Solomon Island including Munda and Gizo,were hit by an earth quake on Monday that measured 8.1 causing a tsunami to hit the coast line and forcing residence to flee to the hills for cover. (AP Photo/Gladys Houla)


Residents in the village of Noro in the Solomon Islands, Monday, April 2. 2007, wade through the main street after water subsided from a tsunami caused by an earth quake that hit the south Pacific in the early hours of the morning. Parts of the Solomon Island including Munda and Gizo,were hit by an earthquake on Monday that measured 8.1 causing a tsunami to hit the coast line and forcing residence to flee to the hills for cover. (AP Photo/Gladys Houla)


Residents in the village of Noro in the Solomon Islands, Monday, April 2. 2007, wade through the main street after water subsided from a tsunami caused by an earth quake that hit the south Pacific in the early hours of the morning. Parts of the Solomon Island including Munda and Gizo,were hit by an earthquake on Monday that measured 8.1 causing a tsunami to hit the coast line and forcing residence to flee to the hills for cover. (AP Photo/Gladys Houla)


Two men search through the rubble of destroyed houses in Gizo, the Solomon islands Thursday, April 5, 2007. Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


A girl gathers clothes from in front of a tsunami flattened houses in Gizo, the Solomon islands Thursday, April 5, 2007. Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


A woman in Gizo, the Solomon Islands Thursday, April 5, 2007, walks past an up turned water tank with writing on it saying 'No Hope Wet Monday.' Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


Residents of a small village in Gizo, the Solomon Islands Thursday, April 5, 2007, carry relief stores from the beach to a make shift village in the hills. Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)



A man in Gizo, the Solomon Islands Thursday, April 5, 2007, searches through the rubble of destroyed houses. Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


A woman in front of a tsunami flattened village, washes clothes in Gizo, the Solomon Islands Thursday, April 5, 2007. Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


A small girl known as Diana sits in front of a tsunami flattened house while she plays with a toy doll in Gizo, the Solomon Islands Thursday, April 5, 2007. Aid workers helping survivors of a tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that the relief efforts are chaotic and lack resources, warning of growing health risks for thousands left homeless in squalid camps. The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami at 34. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)


A villager surveys the damage brought about by the tsunami in Gizo. Aid agencies urgently appealed for water, shelter and medicine for isolated towns and villages where thousands of victims of the Solomon Islands tsunami have been left homeless.(AFP/Neil Sands)


Homeless villagers victims of Solomon Islands tsunami gather in makeshift shelters in Gizo. Aid agencies urgently appealed for water, shelter and medicine for isolated towns and villages where thousands of victims of the Solomon Islands tsunami have been left homeless.(AFP/Neil Sands)


Waves crash ashore on to the town of Gizo, as a tsunami strikes the area, Monday, April 2, 2007, in this image from television, in the Solomon Islands. At least 34 people were killed in Monday's magnitude-8.1 undersea quake that sent waves up to 16 feet high smashing into the western Solomons. (AP Photo/APTN)


Waves roll ashore on to the town of Gizo, as a tsunami strikes the area, Monday, April 2, 2007, in this image from television, in the Solomon Islands. At least 34 people were killed in Monday's magnitude-8.1 undersea quake that sent waves up to 16 feet high smashing into the western Solomons. (AP Photo/APTN)

 Tags: danny kennedy dave gizo justin anderson renee ishisaka rob griffith solomon islands AP REUTERS


Comments:

#1 captainfish 03-Apr-2007
A new bureaucracy to oversee other bureaucracies. Then those can be overseen by regional ones. Then there can be a hemispheric oversight committee that will assure proper operation and be governed by an international body. This body will in turn be accountable to the UN through the Security Council. And of course, the Security Council is responsible to the individual member states.
#2 Brian 03-Apr-2007
Cap'n,

Do I detect a hint of sarcasm there?

;)

I think the notion of monitoring the entire region is [i]definitely[/i] beneficial. International coöperation, however, will be elusive.

How awesome would it be if the Australians were to "pull a Yankee" on the south Pacific, and set up a regional monitoring system all on their own accord?

I mean, you solve the problem of monitoring, without all of the fuss and muss of "unaccountable" world bodies, right? That "solution" would certainly befuddle the EUropeans, but I dunno—the Aussies still know how to hold their own, don't they?

Regards,
Brian
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