In 2020, World Tsunami Awareness Day encourages the development of national and community-level, local disaster risk reduction strategies to save more lives against disasters. This year’s observance promotes “Sendai Seven Campaign,” target (e).
By the year 2030, an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s population will live in coastal areas exposed to flooding, storms and tsunamis. Having plans and policies in place to reduce tsunami impacts will help to build more resilience and protect populations at risk. Do you have a national or a local plan in place to anticipate a tsunami?
In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day, calling on countries, international bodies and civil society to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.
World Tsunami Awareness Day was the brainchild of Japan, which due to its repeated, bitter experience has over the years built up major expertise in areas such as tsunami early warning, public action and building back better after a disaster to reduce future impacts. UN Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) facilitates the observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day in collaboration with the rest of the United Nations system.
Tsunamis are rare events but can be extremely deadly. In the past 100 years, 58 of them have claimed more than 260,000 lives, or an average of 4,600 per disaster, surpassing any other natural hazard. The highest number of deaths in that period was in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. It caused an estimated 227,000 fatalities in 14 countries, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand hardest-hit.
What are the causes of tsunamis?
It can be generated by movements along fault zones associated with plate boundaries.
Most strong earthquakes occur in subduction zones where an ocean plate slides under a continental plate or another younger ocean plate.
All earthquakes do not cause tsunamis. There are four conditions necessary for an earthquake to cause a tsunami:
- The earthquake must occur beneath the ocean or cause material to slide into the ocean.
- The earthquake must be strong, at least magnitude6.5 on the Richter Scale
- The earthquake must rupture the Earth’s surface and it must occur at shallow depth – less than 70km below the surface of the Earth.
- The earthquake must cause vertical movement of the sea floor (up to several metres).
About World Tsunami Awareness Day
In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
In 2020, World Tsunami Awareness Day will promote target (e) of the “Sendai Seven Campaign,” which encourages countries and communities to have national and local disaster risk reduction strategies in place to save more lives against disasters by the end of 2020.