Tsunami Preparedness

tsunami preparednessMillions of people around the world live in areas at risk for tsunamis, such as Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India. And millions more visit these places every day. Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, the effect of a tsunami can be reduced through community tsunami preparedness, timely warnings, and effective response. The risk of Indian Ocean earthquakes and tsunamis similar to the 2004 Sumatra disaster is greater than previously thought, researchers say. British and Canadian scientists said the risk in the western Indian Ocean of an earthquake-caused tsunami that could threaten the coastal areas of Pakistan, Iran, Oman, India and other countries has been underestimated. UPI science news. Learning from past disasters and being prepared as to what actions to take during an event can help minimise the impact on the loss of people and property.

A comprehensive approach to reducing disaster risk was established by the UN General Assembly, through a process which led to the Hyogo Framework for Action for 2005-2015. The framework was endorsed by 168 countries following the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Its goal is “the substantial reduction of disaster losses in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries.” Its ten- year plan sets out what is required from governments, multilateral organisations, regional institutions, disaster experts, and many others to reduce disaster loss. more

People often die after the first tsunami wave because they return to their homes too soon or go to the beach to help stranded people or animals, only to be engulfed by another tsunami wave. If caught by a tsunami wave, it is better not to swim, but rather to grab a floating object and allow the current to carry you.more

Sudden disasters—an explosion, a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, or the recent tsunamis in South Asia—are followed by predictable patterns of human needs and required relief responses that evolve in a natural sequence. As this sequence unfolds, the nature of the aid required from outside the disaster area shifts from basic life support to the reconstruction of livelihoods and communities. Harvard business school

Over 90 percent of the casualties and damage recorded from recent tsunamis were caused by locally-generated tsunamis. Locally-generated tsunamis strike communities quickly, usually before official warning systems can call for evacuations. Start by gathering a good team and develop a structure that makes sense for your community and the resources available to you. The level of formality and structure of tsunami preparedness teams can vary greatly, from loose networks of volunteers with advisory committees to legally incorporated community organizations. Different organizational forms may make sense at different times during your work.
Due to the complexity of emergency management, Drabek and Hoetmer (1991) provided four phases for comprehensive emergency management which “overlap in practice but have specific individual goals”.  The phases are:
Mitigation: Activities performed to avoid or reduce the disaster occurrence risk.
Preparedness: Efforts to lessen the impact of disasters
Response: Activities aiming to rescue, avoid property damage, satisfy the immediate needs for survival goods of the affected people, among others.
Recovery: Efforts oriented to return to the normal conditions of the community.  more