On August 17, 1999 there was a
Richter 7.6  earthquake near the
city of Izmit just east of Istanbul.
At least 17,000 people were
killed. The Government of
Turkey wisely asked for aid in
the form of rescue teams. Dozens
of nations responded. An
Istanbul earthquake and
tsunami would require even
more help and far faster. Even
when there are enough Turkish
rescue specialists language is a
challenge. A Bulgarian speaker  
trying to tell a doctor fluent in
Farsi that insulin is needed for
diabetes is not a promising
scenario. Matters are more
complicated if the survivor is
autistic, unconscious or in shock.
The situation cries out for biometric identification and for equipping rescuers
with hand-held computers or cell phones that can translate a basic word set.