Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tsunami deaths likely to rise in Pacific islands

A tsunami killed at least 141 people in Samoa and American Samoa following a massive 8.0 earthquake 120 miles off the coast on Tuesday.

Tsunami deaths likely to rise in Pacific islands
Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:19pm EDT

By Baris Atayman

SIUMU, Samoa (Reuters) - Relief workers in American Samoa and Samoa searched for survivors on Thursday after a series of tsunamis smashed into the tiny Pacific islands, killing more than 100 people, flattening villages and leaving thousands homeless.

Television images showed homes ripped apart, cars submerged in the sea or lodged in trees and large fishing boats hurled ashore by the waves generated by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake southwest of American Samoa, a U.S. territory.

Some victims were washed out to sea by waves that reached at least 6 meters (20 feet) high.

At least 83 people were killed in Samoa, with no clear picture of how many were still unaccounted for, Asuegalia Mulipola, assistant chief executive of Samoa's Disaster Management Office, told Reuters.

Mulipola said at least 170 to 180 people were injured, with a more complete toll expected later in the day.

Togiola Tulafono, governor of American Samoa, said at least 24 people were killed there and 50 injured, with the southern portion of the main island of Tutuila "devastated." The toll may rise as rescuers search buildings, including a seniors' center.

Officials in the neighboring island nation of Tonga confirmed seven people killed there and three missing. The two Samoas and Tonga have a combined population of about 400,000 people and rely on subsistence agriculture, fishing and tourism.

The wave came about 200 meters (656 feet) onshore, destroying everything in its path, said Tim Wimborne, a Reuters photographer traveling on the south coast of Upolu in Samoa.

"Where it has come in, it's devastated the place, snapping trees off at the bases, houses are gone, foundations moved and concrete walls pushed over," he said. "There's nothing left standing at all."


Locals were beginning to clean up, searching the tangle of wreckage along the coastline for their possessions, Wimborne said. The work of shifting heavy debris such as roofs and walls was being done by hand, with little heavy machinery available.

Radio New Zealand, quoting Samoan disaster authorities, said 32,000 people were affected by the tsunami, with some 3,000 left homeless.

A second earthquake, of 7.9 magnitude, hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra late on Wednesday, prompting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to issue a tsunami watch for Indonesia, India, Thailand and Malaysia.

The prime minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, said the death toll in his nation was expected to rise.

"It was fortunate ... the tsunami struck when it was daylight and the tide was also low," he told Reuters. "If it had come in the dark and the tide was high, the number of people who died would be much higher."

U.S. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa and ordered federal aid to help the recovery.

A U.S. C-130 transport plane arrived in American Samoa on Thursday as part of an air bridge to bring in relief workers and supplies. The Navy's USS Ingraham was en route with an estimated arrival time of 7 p.m. EDT on Thursday.


An Australian emergency medical team arrived in Samoa early on Thursday with surgeons, anesthetists and paramedics to help the overstretched local hospital, Australian Aid Minister Bob McMullan said, while an air force transport with emergency supplies, tents and medical equipment would depart later in the day.

McMullan said at least three Australians had died in the tsunami and earthquake, which was still sending aftershocks through the region on Thursday.

Residents in Pago Pago, the main village in American Samoa, were returning to their homes after fleeing to higher ground to avoid the waves that pounded buildings, including the local fish cannery, and unearthed a cemetery.

"They're coming back but there is some fear because of some rumors of a (tsunami) warning coming down from Honolulu," said Nick Faasala, a U.S. postal worker who spoke by telephone from Pago Pago's Showers of Blessing radio station.

Red Cross teams had mobilized more than 100 emergency workers who were collecting coconuts to help meet early food and water needs in the affected Pacific islands, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Shortly after radio warnings about a tsunami were issued in the islands, waves started crashing into Pago Pago and villages and resorts on the southern coasts, witnesses said.

Mulipola said there were reports of bodies covered in the sand driven onshore by the waves.

Wendy Booth, owner of the Sea Breeze on Upolu, said she and her husband were almost washed away when the waves destroyed their resort and carried its restaurant out to sea.

"The second wave hit and came up through the floor, pushed out the back door and threw us outside," she told Fairfax Radio Network in Australia, adding the couple held onto each other and a handrail as parts of their resort disintegrated.

Small tsunamis also reached New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan.

An Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26, 2004 -- which killed about 230,000 people in 11 countries -- is the worst on record.

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Underground Secure Data Center Operations

Technology based companies are building new data centers in old mines, caves, and bunkers to host computer equipment below the Earth's surface.

Underground Secure Data Center Operations have a upward trend.

Operations launched in inactive gypsum mines, caves, old abandoned coal mines, abandoned solid limestone mines, positioned deep below the bedrock mines, abandoned hydrogen bomb nuclear bunkers, bunkers deep underground and secure from disasters, both natural and man-made.

The facility have advantages over traditional data centers, such as increased security, lower cost, scalability and ideal environmental conditions. There economic model works, despite the proliferation of data center providers, thanks largely to the natural qualities inherent in the Underground Data Centers.

With 10,000, to to over a 1,000,000 square feet available, there is lots of space to be subdivided to accommodate the growth needs of clients. In addition, the Underground Data Centers has an unlimited supply of naturally cool, 50-degree air, providing the ideal temperature and humidity for computer equipment with minimal HVAC cost.

They are the most secure data centers in the world and unparalleled in terms of square footage, scalability and environmental control.

Yet, while the physical and cost benefits of being underground make them attractive, they have to also invested heavily in high-speed connectivity and redundant power and fiber systems to ensure there operations are not just secure, but also state-of-the-art.

There initially focused on providing disaster recovery solutions, and backup co-location services.

Clients lease space for their own servers, while other provides secure facilities, power and bandwidth. They offers redundant power sources and multiple high-speed Internet connections through OC connected to SONET ring linked to outside connectivity providers through redundant fiber cables.

Underground Data Centers company augments there core services to include disaster recovery solutions, call centers, NOC, wireless connectivity and more.

Strategic partnering with international, and national information technology company, enable them to offer technology solutions ranging from system design and implementation to the sale of software and equipment.

The natural qualities of the Underground Data Centers allow them to offer the best of both worlds premier services and security at highly competitive rates.

Underground Data Centers were established starting in 1990's but really came into there own after September 11 attacks in 2001 when there founders realized the former mines, and bunker offered optimal conditions for a data center. The mines, and bunkers offered superior environmental conditions for electronic equipment, almost invulnerable security and they located near power grids.

Adam Couture, a Mass.-based analyst for Gartner Inc. said Underground Data Centers could find a niche serving businesses that want to reduce vulnerability to any future attacks. Some Underground Data Centers fact sheet said that the Underground Data Center would protect the data center from a cruise missile explosion or plane crash.

Every company after September 11 attacks in 2001 are all going back and re-evaluating their business-continuity plans, This doesn't say everybody's changing them, but everybody's going back and revisiting them in the wake of what happened and the Underground Data Center may be just that.

Comparison chart: Underground data centers

Five facilities compared
Name InfoBunker, LLC The Bunker Montgomery Westland Cavern Technologies Iron Mountain The Underground
Location Des Moines, Iowa* Dover, UK Montgomery, Tex. Lenexa, Kan. Butler County, Penn.*
In business since 2006 1999 2007 2007 Opened by National Storage in 1954. Acquired by Iron Mountain 1998.
Security /access control Biometric; keypad; pan, tilt and zoom cameras; door event and camera logging CCTV, dogs, guards, fence Gated, with access control card, biometrics and a 24x7 security guard Security guard, biometric scan, smart card access and motion detection alarms 24-hour armed guards, visitor escorts, magnetometer, x-ray scanner, closed-circuit television, badge access and other physical and electronic measures for securing the mine's perimeter and vaults
Distance underground (feet) 50 100 60 125 220
Ceiling height in data center space (feet) 16 12 to 50 10 16 to 18 15 (10 feet from raised floor to dropped ceiling)
Original use Military communications bunker Royal Air Force military bunker Private bunker designed to survive a nuclear attack. Complex built in 1982 by Louis Kung (Nephew of Madam Chang Kai Shek) as a residence and headquarters for his oil company, including a secret, 40,000 square foot nuclear fallout shelter. The office building uses bulletproof glass on the first floor and reception area and 3-inch concrete walls with fold-down steel gun ports to protect the bunker 60 feet below. Limestone mine originally developed by an asphalt company that used the materials in road pavement Limestone mine
Total data center space (square feet) 34,000 50,000 28,000 plus 90,000 of office space in a hardened, above-ground building. 40,000 60,000
Total space in facility 65,000 60,000 28,000 3 million 145 acres developed; 1,000 acres total
Data center clients include Insurance company, telephone company, teaching hospital, financial services, e-commerce, security
monitoring/surveillance, veterinary, county government
Banking, mission critical Web applications, online trading NASA/T-Systems, Aker Solutions, Continental Airlines, Houston Chronicle, Express Jet Healthcare, insurance, universities, technology, manufacturing, professional services Marriott International Inc., Iron Mountain, three U.S. government agencies
Number of hosted primary or backup data centers 2 50+ 13 26 5
Services offered Leased data center space, disaster recovery space, wholesale bandwidth Fully managed platforms, partly managed platforms, co-location Disaster recovery/business continuity, co-location and managed services Data center space leasing, design, construction and management Data center leasing, design, construction and maintenance services
Distance from nearest large city Des Moines, about 45 miles* Canterbury, 10 miles; London, 60 miles Houston, 40 miles Kansas City, 15 miles Pittsburgh, 55 miles
Location of cooling system, includng cooling towers Underground Underground Above and below ground. All cooling towers above ground in secure facility. Air cooled systems located underground. Cooling towers located outside
Chillers located above ground to take advantage of "free cooling." Pumps located underground.
Location of generators and fuel tanks Underground Above ground and below ground Two below ground, four above ground. All fuel tanks buried topside. Underground Underground
*Declined to cite exact location/disatance for security reasons.