2004: Indian Ocean Tsunami 183
Jadet In-Sawarng, the governor of Phuket (Rojanaphruk, 2005). That same
year, he warned Thailand after an earthquake-triggered tsunami killed
more than 2000 people in Papua New Guinea. This warning, made in a
speech and later picked up by newspapers in the summer of 1998, quickly
spread through the country, setting off panic and outrage. Villagers along
the country’s western coast thought the threat was imminent and ran into
the hills, causing traffic accidents as they fled. Tourists checked out of their
hotels (Barta, 2005). However, when no tsunami hit Thailand, furious
tourism executives and government officials excoriated Thammasaroj for
his judgment and forced him into retirement.
Seven years later, Thammasaroj’s predictions were proven correct.
Unfortunately, fearing retribution from the tourism industry and govern-
ment, officials in the Thai Meteorology Department did not issue a
tsunami warning. An hour before waves began hitting Thailand, they knew
of the earthquake and its possible tsunami threat but remained quiet
because they had no way to determine the true size of the waves. Less
than 1 week after the Indian Ocean tsunami, Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra appointed Thammasaroj as a vice minister in charge of the
newly established National Disaster Warning Office (AP, 2005a).
Associated Press, Ostracized forecaster predicted tsunami. http://www.abcnews.com, January
13, 2005a.
Associated Press, UNESCO launches Indian Ocean tsunami warning system. Hindustan
Times, A1, June 30, 2005b.
Barta, P.,Thai official once reviled for tsunami prediction back in charge. SD UT, A4, January
11, 2005.
Guy Carpenter & Co., Tsunami: Indian Ocean Event and Investigation into Potential Global
Risks. London: Guy Carpenter & Co., 2005.
Mydans, S.,After the tsunami, rebuilding paradise. NY Times, 5-1, April 24, 2005.
National Science Foundation, Analysis of the Sumatran-Andaman Earthquake Reveals the
Longest Fault Rupture Ever. June 1, 2005 Press Release. http://www.sciencedaily.com/
Nature.com, Indian Ocean Tsunami Timeline. 2005. http://www.nature.com/news/special/
Park, J., Song, T. A., Tromp, J., Okal, E., Stein, S., Roult, G., Clevede, E., Laske, G., Kanamori, H.,
Davis, P., Berger, J., Braitenberg, C., Van Camp., M., Lei, X., Sun, H., Xu, H., and Rosat, S.
Earth’s free oscillations excited by the 26 December 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake,
Science, May 20, 2005, 308, 1139–1144.
Purdum, T. S., ‘Deep Throat’ unmasks himself as ex-no. 2 official at F.B.I. NY Times, A1,
June 1, 2005.
Rojanaphruk, P., Are we doomed to report our mistakes? The Nation (Bangkok), March 23,
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