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What are your thoughts about the death, damage and destruction caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami?

The question - Tsunami

Hearing the death toll rising rapidly every hour, the saddest thing was that many of the deaths on the other side of the ocean, away from the epicentre, were totally avoidable. There were four hours between the earthquake and the tsunami reaching the shore. However, I think that as engineers, we have to reflect on our role. We are not proactive enough and we are not stating strongly enough how such high death tolls can be avoided or how the damage can be mitigated. Whether global warming is real or not, freak weather occurrences are on the rise. If we do not prepare, we will be asking ourselves the same questions again next time.

Andrew HC Chan, professor in computational engineering, Birmingham This is a gentle reminder to be grateful for every day.

George Tedbury, 60, consultant, Glasgow Simple warning systems and evacuation plans would have cost tens of thousands of pounds to implement and might have saved tens of thousands of lives.

Jean-Marc Barsam, 39, structural engineer, London This disaster has clearly struck a chord with many in the UK, and worldwide. However as engineers we must be in a better position than most to get the devastated areas back on their feet - and this will take months if not years. Apart from donations it is difficult to know what we, as individuals, can actually do to help. Maybe NCE could try to gather ideas. There is plenty of infrastructure to rebuild: How about we offer free design advice on an individual basis?

Colin Sherwood, 55, principal consultant, Manchester This makes us realise how vulnerable to nature we are and the importance civil engineering can play in protecting society from all sorts of disasters.

Paul McCormick, 39, managing director, Derby It is a shame that the procedures - even informal ones - were not in place so that those first affected could warn those further away. But we need to be careful not to forget the long term development programmes under way, particularly in Africa.

Luc Koefman, 34, windfarm engineer, France As a RedR member I have witnessed the vulnerability of local people in poor parts of the world. I am pleased that human compassion has responded well to this disaster.

It has highlighted the enormous problems we all face in the approaching decades of rapid global climate change.

Charles Brewerton, project engineer, Brighton While we mourn the dead we should remind ourselves never to be so arrogant as to think that by developing engineering, prediction and monitoring techniques we can ever tame 'the great sources of power in nature' - we should redouble our efforts and ingenuity to direct and accommodate them 'for the use and convenience of mankind'.

Tony O'Donnell, engineering manager, Warwickshire While this has been the greatest natural disaster in our lifetime, we must not forget the suffering of people caught up in smaller disasters around the globe.

Bryan Stead, independent transport consultant, Norfolk

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