With all the attention given to last week’s 50th anniversary of the 1964 tidal wave that hit Port Alberni, work that 30-plus scientists from around the world are doing to improve a tsunami warning system takes on greater importance.
Especially so with Tuesday’s news that a magnitude 8.3 earthquake hit the coast of Chile, prompting tsunami warnings for that country’s west coast.
Oceanographer Srinivasa Kumar Tummala from India pointed out that an early warning system, such as the one Port Alberni has in place now, will be inadequate if an earthquake should hit close to home.
(It is a sad irony that only foreign scientists and professionals with Ocean Networks Canada were permitted to talk to the media. Canadian scientists were off-limits, as per federal rules.)
Which brings us to a report last week from B.C.’s Auditor General Russ Jones, who stated that our province ‘is still at significant risk’ if a catastrophic earthquake were to hit us.
Jones warns the province needs to have a ‘big picture’ plan. He is not the first to say that, though. We need to know that we are likely on our own if ‘the big one’ hits.
We have some good warning systems in place in the event of a tsunami here in Port Alberni, and a plan to get people to higher ground; but are we ready if we are hit with an earthquake?
We have a multi-casual incident unit designed to assist numerous casualties during a disaster; in all likelihood, our city will be cut off from both ends and help will take a while to reach us.
How many families are prepared to look after themselves?
— Alberni Valley News