Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization Warned of Tsunamis

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said that Indonesia and Thailand both were warned almost immediately of the massive undersea earthquake on 26 December 2004 that sparked deadly tsunamis across the Indian Ocean . According to CTBTO spokesman Bernhard Wrabetz, “The raw data from our sensors was transmitted in the moments that followed the earthquake to a number of national centers, including those of Indonesia and Thailand. But it is not known what those centers did with


the data, which can only be interpreted by specialists.”

The Vienna-based CTBTO has a network of sensors across the world, which were set up to detect any nuclear tests that violate the treaty, but they also monitor natural seismic activity.

“Our mission is not to detect earthquakes and tsunamis, but we want to adapt our system so that it can also function to this end,” with a specific alert capacity, Wrabetz added.

The giant waves sparked by the quake off Sumatra hit Indonesia within 30 minutes and Thailand half an hour later, killing more than 90,000 and more than 5,000 people, respectively in those coutnries. The failure to give a warning sparked a row in Thailand, where many foreign tourists were among the victims. The Thai government has announced that it would set up an inquiry into why the public was not alerted.

The Bush Administration, deathly opposed to the treaty, is planning on cutting funding to the CTBTO.

Source: AFP, 6 January 2005

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