Monday, September 22, 2008

Singapore is Very Vulnerable from Tsunamis

An expert on coastal areas warned Friday said although Singapore is one of Asia's wealthiest cities, but it is not totally immune from a tsunami and should prepare for the possibility.

Professor Wong Poh Poh of the National University of Singapore geography department said that the island-state Singapore can be hit by a tsunami generated from three locations and the waves could seriously damage key coastal infrastructure without being too high.

Mr. Wong was speaking at a news conference to launch a report, by the aid and development organisation World Vision, on the impact of climate change on poor people. Wong said, to cause damage, waves hitting Singapore need not be as huge as the ones that destroyed Indonesia's Aceh in December 2004, killing 168,000 people. Aceh was devastated by a wave about 10 meters (33 feet) high.

Wong said that to devastate Singapore, there is no need 10-meter waves. The problem with Singapore is it has a lot of infrastructure on the coast. All needed to destroy Singapore is a very low wave to just come in and hit certain areas.

Wong said, "Changi Airport will be very risky." He added, the man-made island of Jurong which houses a sprawling petrochemical complex is also vulnerable, and urged the government to commission a study on tsunamis.

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