KOBE, Japan - India plans a tsunami-warning system that its neighbors could join, while Indonesia envisions one run by southeast Asian countries. The Germans are pitching their own high-tech network, but the United Nations says it should set up the system - and then extend it globally.
The Asian tsunami disaster demonstrated with terrifying power the need for an alert system in the Indian Ocean and other parts of the world, but the outpouring of support to build one has generated a plethora of overlapping proposals.
Amid the confusion, U.N. officials at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, called on Wednesday for coordination of efforts - and insisted on their own central role in marshaling the expertise and setting up the system.
The model for the new network is an existing system in the Pacific, which was established in 1965 and now provides early tsunami warnings to 26 nations. Experts say much of the technology - from earthquake and sea level sensors to messaging systems - could be easily transferred to southern Asia.
The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which runs the IOC, has already proposed such a network in the Indian Ocean that would cost $30 million, with the goal of extending it worldwide by mid-2007.
U.N. officials in New York said a clearer picture was emerging of the destruction in Indonesia's Aceh province. The town of Calang, for example, lost 90 percent of its population - 6,550 people out of the pre-tsunami population of 7,300, said Kevin Kennedy of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
In Indonesia, U.S. helicopters were flying 80 aid missions a day, said Capt. Matt Klunder, Naval Air Wing 2 deputy commander. Villagers were no longer mobbing the helicopters as soon as they touched down, he said.
Currently the count is like 140,000 people dead or missing!U.N. officials and other experts said coastal areas near the epicenters of tsunami-generating earthquakes would need breakwaters and resident awareness to avert disaster.