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A couple of days ago Chile suffered an enormous 8.2 magnitude earthquake just off it’s coast. That’s huge. CNN and other news outlets have come up with a number of reasons why the death toll has been very low (it rose to six on Wednesday afternoon):
(CNN) — Strict building codes and the preparedness of millions of Chileans who live along an arc of volcanoes and fault lines likely kept the death toll — only six by Wednesday afternoon — low after an 8.2-magnitude earthquake rumbled offshore and prompted a tsunami, observers said.
Officials said four of those whose deaths were blamed on the quake late Tuesday that triggered landslides, power outages, and a tsunami suffered heart attacks, while two others were crushed.
“They’re a seismically active region of the world and they are very good at implementing their building codes similar to California,” John Bellini, a Denver-based geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN on Wednesday.
And the ground shaking wasn’t the only thing to worry about: the quake off shore gave a clear Tsunami warning.
“The government of Chile has been working hard to improve the awareness of people living along the coast to the threat from tsunamis and on what to do if one is approaching,” Godby said in a statement. “Several tsunami drills have taken place since the tsunami that killed an estimated 500[-plus] Chileans in February 2010 and recent earthquakes in the region have helped to keep the threat firmly in people’s minds.”
I have a special sensitivity to Tsunamis. I was in Sri Lanka on Boxing Day 2004 and watched one of the worlds largest Tsunamis wash under my feet and destroy the ground floor and gardens of the hotel I was in. We were safe in the hotel thanks to the the staff moving us upstairs but around the hotel thousands of people died.
What’s the Israeli connection? Chile’s government has been bought an alert and warning system, developed in Israel and deployed it. The company is called eVigilo. I’ve had it confirmed by Guy Weiss, eVigilo’s CEO that their SMART Alert system was able to successfully alert and notify the Chilean population to prepare for evacuation.
eVigilo’s system targets alerts by geography (only people near the sea have to worry about Tsunamis) and alerts are sent to phones, radios, TV’s, computers and pretty much anything else. In Israel we have the country wide alarms too.
Just another way in which Israeli tech and ingenuity to solve our own problems gets sent out to do good in the world. I love Israel.