laska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, mourning the loss of life of the victims of the December 26 earthquake off of Indonesia, today urged the installation of a tsunami warning system in the region, similar to the West Coast / Alaska Tsunami Warning Center based in Palmer, which the United States spearheaded following Alaska's huge 1964 earthquake.
As the death toll from the quake and massive undersea-generated waves passed the 80,000 mark, Murkowski said she will support full funding for the humanitarian aid that the region desperately needs. She added that she will also urge the U.S. Geological Survey to lend its expertise to help establish an Indian Ocean -- and reconsider the need for an Atlantic Ocean -- tsunami warning network similar to the West Coast/Alaska network that is based in Palmer, Alaska, created following the 9.2, 1964 Good Friday earthquake, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, established in 1949.
"Alaskans fully understand the devastation and loss that earthquakes and resulting tsunamis can cause. The West Coast/Alaska tsunami network has firmly established the benefits that a warning system can provide. Given this tragedy, there is no reason why warning networks can't be established to protect both America's East Coast and also more dangerous areas, like the Indian Ocean.
"As the world's population continues to rise along the world's coasts, the risk of similar nightmares will only increase without better early warning protection," said Murkowski, who expressed her deepest sympathies to all of the families and relatives of those who lost loved ones in the massive disaster. She said her thoughts and prayers are with the families of Alaskans who continue to await word on the status of Alaskans in the region, especially several vacationing Alaskans reportedly still missing in Thailand.