People who don't help themselves...

In Indonesia, a country of 230 million people, they apparently "do not have expertise" to maintain a tsunami detection system which was put in place after the 2004 catastrophe:
Locals were given no indication of the coming wave because an early-warning system put in place after the devastating 2004 tsunami has stopped working.

Fauzi, the head of Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysic Agency, told the Associated Press that the system began to malfunction last year, and was completely inoperative by last month.

"We do not have the expertise to monitor the buoys to function as intended," he said.
There's just no excuse for this incompetence.

Over the course of 6 years, a country with a population of 230 million has been unable to acquire equipment and train people to run a crucial early warning system? After they received the help to put it in place from countries like Germany, China, France, and the US?

What a waste of help.

Every cent misplaced by helping people who don't help themselves could have been used towards a goal where it would actually have an effect.

Edit 2010-10-29: Unlike bloggers, BBC News does not possess the integrity to annotate articles when they change them after they're published, but instead they regularly change articles, after having published them, in complete stealth.

The article has now changed to quote that the buoys have been "vandalized". How that's compatible with the statement they quoted previously, and why they deleted that statement, is beyond me.

Here's a screenshot of the article the way it still appears at the moment through Google Cache.


The value of seven billion dollars

According to the French legal system, the value of $7 billion is 3 years in jail. That's what Jerome Kerviel got for fraudulent trading which saddled Societe Generale with a $7 billion loss.

EPA's economic analysis estimates the value of a US human life at about $7 million.

The reason a life can be assigned a value is because it takes a certain amount of money in order to save a US life. If you have $14 million, you could use that in the US to save, most efficiently, about 2 human lives total. Or that's what EPA suggests.

The money wasted by Jerome Kerviel could, therefore, have been used to save 1,000 human lives.

So basically he wasted 1,000 human lives worth of money, and what he gets is 3 years in jail.

Of course the damage cannot be undone, regardless of whether the jail time is 3 years, or a lifetime, or if he is simply executed, like the Chinese would have done.

But money is about human lives. Economic damage is about human lives. A system which handles this sort of wrongdoing by, basically, giving the guy a slap on the wrist, does not have its priorities straight.