I-MAG STS Corporation
In the Southwestern Pacific the Tongan islands, of which there are nearly one
hundred seventy (36 inhabited; total land mass about 750 square kilometers), have
a population about 115,000 people. Northwest is Vanuatu and then the Solomons.
As faithful readers and relentless seismology analysts will recall, the Solomons on
1 April 2007 at 20:40 (UTC) were struck by an 8.1 earthquake with a epicenter of
8.47 South and 157.04 East and an estimated depth of 24 kilometers which caused
a tsunami. It was followed by 79 Richter 5.0 or greater aftershocks (including a
6.9) in the next two days, and another 43 events in the next two months. Perhaps a
chronological cluster analysis will be done, but of more importance was that the
initial 2007 major event and tsunami killed at least 52 people and destroyed more
than 900 homes, leaving thousands of people homeless. When we were analyzing
the economic impact of tsunamis in straits we looked at Saint George's Channel in
the Bismarck Archipelago (lies between New Ireland and eastern New Britain: it is
named by analogy with St George's Channel between Great Britain and Ireland) as
well as both the Dampier and Vitiaz Straits (west of New Britain).
As we shall, Tonga has not only more than its share of volcanoes but has had an
impressive number of seismic events. Among the disaster preparations we would
certainly advocate one or more web pages so that Tongans can use a cell phone to
provide their personal status (alive, injured or otherwise) and so that overseas
anxious relatives can check on family members. That's not to say the earthquake
need have an epicenter near Tonga. There are thousands of Tongans living in
Hawaii and California, both of which are likely to be slammed by major
earthquakes. Such a webpage could update Tongans with overseas relatives.
While we regret the extinction of the Niuatoputapu language, it does mean disaster
management web pages need only have versions in English, Tongan and Niuafo'ou,
with perhaps even Mandarin. We know no one who has tabulated how many
Tongans are literate in only one language have as opposed to co-literate in two.