The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr CY Lam, speaking at an exhibition of graphics depicting earthquakes and tsunamis today (January 17), appealed to members of the public to learn from the disaster of the recent tsunami in South Asia and strengthen their awareness of natural disasters.
Given that people should not live in disaster-prone areas, Mr Lam said that the work to rebuild the disaster struck areas in South Asia should not be limited to building the infrastructure, but to formulate a high-level policy to restrict or manage human activities in low-lying coastal areas. The government should strike a balance between the pressure of an expanding population in the coastal areas and the risk of natural disasters in these areas. This, he said, was a political decision with implications far outweighing the scientific work of meteorology and seismology.
Mr Lam also doubted the effectiveness of any tsunami warning system without a long-term public education programme to raise awareness of the scale of damage such natural disasters could bring and on understanding the natural phenomena related to these natural disasters.
He pledged that the Hong Kong Observatory would organise activities to promote the understanding of earthquakes and tsunamis.
Mr Lam invited the public to come to the exhibition. "Professor Tam Siu-cheung is a world renowned collector of maps and atlases. This exhibition of maps and atlases is a rare opportunity to learn more about the relationship between earthquakes and tsunamis, and is one that should not be missed," he said.
Figure 1. The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Lam Chiu-ying appeals to the public to heighten awareness of natural disasters
Figure 2. The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Lam Chiu-ying explains the tsunami phenomenon related to Hong Kong