Tsunami Alert

JAKARTA, July 27, 2006 (AFP) – Indonesian officials said Thursday they plan to install sirens on mobile phone towers to alert coastal areas to potential tsunamis, following a second killer wave in the archipelago nation in as many years.

Installation of the sirens will be completed by the end of 2006, said Paryatmoko, tsunami early warning system coordinator with Indonesia’s research and technology ministry.

“That is what the government is planning to do and complete by the end of this year,” he told AFP. He declined to give further details.

Indonesian officials have been criticized for failing to warn residents of an earthquake-triggered tsunami that struck the south Java coast on July 17, killing at least 628 people.

Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman said the sirens will be placed at towers operated by cellular telephone operators near beach areas in southern parts of Sumatra as well as Java, Sulawesi and Indonesian Borneo.

Kadiman said the sirens would blare as soon as meteorological agency officials hit a button to warn of a possible tsunami, the state-run Antara news agency reported late Wednesday.

The agency sent out text messages to some 400 government officials after the 7.7-magn