The enormity of the December 25 tsunami is almost beyond belief. A 9.0 undersea
earthquake whose tidal wave engulfed the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives and numerous small islands leaves more than
45,000 dead (as of this writing), hundreds of thousands injured and millions displaced.
According to the United Nations it was the fourth largest earthquake in recorded history.
The subsequent health and economic effects in southeast Asia are frightening to
contemplate, as they include cholera and diarrhea from polluted drinking water. The
world, under the leadership of the United Nations, is mounting an unprecedented relief
This is the major risk management effort of 2005. First, I ask that every reader of Risk
Management Reports make a financial contribution to any appropriate relief organization,
such as the Red Crescent, Red Cross, CARE, etc. If you will report to me by email
that you have done so (honor system), I will extend your subscription for six
months. Itís the least I can do to help those affected by this disaster. Second, the
forthcoming meeting this month in Kobe, Japan, of the UNís International Strategy for
Disaster Reduction (ISDR), about which Iíve written in RMR (see March 2004), will
focus on early warning systems, evacuation planning, and disaster resilience, all critical
issues for risk managers. Keep in touch with the work of the ISDR via www.unisdr.org.