To have a system fail, you must first have a system.
You can read the details of everything that went wrong in this article, Indonesia's latest tsunami raises global questions over disaster preparedness.
I can imagine that some Americans are saying, "Those poor people, their system failed them!" Hey, our system is in no better shape and doesn't have the funding that is needed for both the West and East coasts.
I can tell you the year I learned how to spell tsunami: 1984. I was still in the military and working at Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA). The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami did more to educate people to the risks than any of our government programs, but then that was now 14 years ago.
We will upgrade our own United States tsunami and earthquake early warning systems right after the next big event that impacts the continental USA. We are very good at closing the barn door once the horses have bolted.
Murray Lorance shared the linked story above.