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.There's just no excuse for this incompetence.
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.
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.