MAKASSAR, Indonesia (AP) — An early warning system that could have prevented some deaths in the tsunami that hit an Indonesian island on Friday has been stalled in the testing phase for years.

The high-tech system of seafloor sensors and fiber-optic cable has been in the works for about five years. It is supposed to replace a system set up after an earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 250,000 people in the region in 2004.

Delays in getting $100,000 to complete the project means it hasn’t moved beyond the prototype phase.

It will come too late for central Sulawesi, where walls of water up to 6 meters (20 feet) high and a magnitude 7.5 earthquake killed at least 832 people in the cities of Palu and Donggala, tragically highlighting the weaknesses of the existing system.