Virginia Tech geoscientist Robert Weiss, who studies the impact of natural hazards and their often-deadly consequences, is available to media outlets interested in this week’s undersea 5.6-magnitude earthquake that struck the country of Indonesia. The estimated death count now nears 270 people as rescue personnel continue to dig through rubble.

Serious injuries from the seismic event have surpassed 300 people, with many hundred suffering minor injuries. Meanwhile, news images have shown thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, and scores of buildings and schools collapsed into rubble.

Quotes from Weiss:

How can Indonesia better prepare for future earthquakes? “It is a very challenging task to enforce and insist on any kind of code related to infrastructure, especially in a country with an extremely wide range of socioeconomic conditions. Any suggestions regarding improving the preparation for future natural hazards from the global north should be taken with at least two grains of salt. What needs to be done in Indonesia needs to be collaboratively understood with Indonesians. It is not our prerogative to make suggestions without local input.”

He adds, “Like any disaster, the poorest are hit the hardest and will have the most difficulty recovering due to the lack of resources. Focusing on the poorest segment of the population will really make a difference in the recovery process.”

About Weiss

Robert Weiss examines the impact of natural hazards, especially tsunamis and storms in the geologic past, today and in the future. His work analyzes how climate change and sea-level rise could change the nature and impacts of coastal hazards in coming years. He develops computer models and uses data analytics to translate the geologic record of coastal hazards into insights that improve the understanding of coastal hazards in the past and today. Weiss is a professor of natural hazards in the College of Science’s Department of Geosciences and director of the Center for Coastal Studies, part of the Virginia Tech Fralin Life Sciences Institute.

Schedule an interview

To secure a live or recorded interview with Robert Weiss, contact Steven Mackay by email or by phone at 540-739-9434.

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