Ten years ago we were concerned about looming political
instability in Algeria and Tunisia. It appeared nothing could
stop the relentless northward march of AIDS. Libya did not
have enough hospitals or physicians. Libya's educational system
was not focused on producing doctors, engineers or clergy.
While southern France and eastern Spain were geologically
stable, the list of past major earthquakes and tsunamis in the
Eastern Mediterranean was growing. With the bulk of Libya's
population and industry close to the coast a tsunami would be
devastating. It was not clear if Libya had to call for aid who
would send help.
Rather than a largely useless census every ten years, we advised
continuous counting using biometric validation. Of interest was to tally
not only Libyan citizens living in Libya, but also to count refugees and
foreign workers in the country, and to get reliable estimates of Libyans
living outside Libya. The advice still applies, but we would also suggest
recording who died, when and how, as well as who was injured.