"We tried to do what we could," McCreery said. "We don't have contacts in our address book for anybody in that part of the world."
And yet you have a computer in front of you that has access to millions of people around the globe in the blink of an eye. The official and traditional methods though entail going through the essential bureaucratic red tape that Mr. McCreery alludes to in the above linked article. There are reasons for this though, reasons to control the free flow of information which we won't get into now.
Now don't get me wrong, we are not looking to lay blame on anyone, but we are asking the following question:
With only hours to spare are the traditional methods of alerting people to the possibilty of an imminent global catastrophe such as this sufficient?
Why not release the information directly to the public?
To be honest, I have caught a lot of flack for this. For simply suggesting that a posting on the internet would have been a step in the right direction and might have helped to save many lives. The main arguement seems to be that "it would not have helped and so why bother" or that "alerting people to the danger might have caused panic and led to more lives lost".
Many of you reading this knew about the earthquake before the main-stream media reported it and you knew about the tsunamis before the main-stream media reported that as well. This is the power of the internet. Before Mr. McCreery had time to pick up his telephone, people from Miami to Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia knew about the earthquake and were already asking what the possibilty of a tsunami was.
I know Phuket, Thailand very well. I travel there several times a year and have many friends there. With two hours to spare, I wish I knew that there was a possibilty of a tsunami hitting there. I wish I had the chance to call someone and let them know.