Radar Bali reports that 25 representatives from Kuta-area hotels and representatives of the Indonesian Department of Geophysics and Meteorology (BMG) met on Wednesday, December 10, 2008, to discuss earthquake and tsunami preparedness. The meeting, convened by Kuta government officials, identified that the Kuta beachfront was exposed to the threat of tsunami from any off-shore earthquake measuring more than 6.5 on the Richter scale. The Village Head (Lurah) of Kuta, Gede Suparta, called on local hotels to devise an evacuation plan in the event of a tsunami. "Unlike Tanjung Benoa (in South Bali), where four hotels have been designated as vertical evacuation zones in the event of a tsunami, Kuta has yet to establish a similar emergency plan," Suparta said.
Pointing out that evacuation to higher ground was an impossibility in Kuta, Suparta called for a vertical escape route to be established using hotels with four or more levels.
The preliminary meeting did not manage to reach an agreement on an emergency plan that would guarantee the safety of an estimated 20,000 local residents.
Based on the comments of a BMG representative attending the meeting in Kuta, there is a window of between 20-30 minutes in which to organize an evacuation before a tsunami hits shore. "If we're late, the people of Kuta could be obliterated," warned Suparta.
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