Every year, World Tsunami Awareness Day is observed on November 5. This day is celebrated to raise awareness for early warnings and actions to protect people, save lives, and prevent the hazard from becoming a disaster.
Why is World Tsunami Awareness Day celebrated on November 5?
The date of November 5 was chosen to mark the story of "Inamura-no-hi" (burning of the rice sheaves) in western Japan. This earthquake occurred in 1858.
Inamura-no-hi Tsunami: Story of Warning & Early Action
- When this tsunami was about to form, a Japanese farmer saw the tide going back towards the sea and knew a tsunami was about to hit. He set fire to warn other villagers so they could flee to higher ground. And his awareness saved villagers' lives.
- Over the years, Japan has gained expertise in certain areas such as tsunami early warning, public awareness and action, and building back better to reduce future effects.
- The United Nations designated this day (November 5) to raise awareness about the importance of awareness and education about tsunamis to make sure that communities act decisively and without panic when tsunami warnings reach them.
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2022: Theme
The theme of World Tsunami Awareness Day 2022 in Asia-Pacific: Early Warning and Early Action Before Every Tsunami.
Facts About Tsunamis
Tsunamis are rare but the deadliest and costliest events. Recapping the past, Japan's Tohoku Earthquake (2011) cost more than $235 bn (the costliest disaster to date).
Approximately 700 mn people live in low-lying coastal areas and Small Island Developing States which are exposed to extreme sea-level events.
In past decades, almost 10% of losses from disasters were caused by tsunamis, especially in countries that border the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Around 80% of tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire.
Tsunami waves can be as big as 100 feet.
International Cooperation to Raise Awareness for Tsunami
- Sendai Seven Campaign: In 2021, World Tsunami Day promoted the Sendai Seven Campaign to increase international cooperation (developing countries) through adequate and sustainable steps to supplement their national efforts for implementation of the present Framework by 2030.'
- By the year 2030, an estimated 50% of the world's population will live in coastal areas exposed to flooding, storms and tsunamis.
- In December 2015, the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) designated November 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day to raise awareness and share innovative methods for risk reduction during tsunamis.
- United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) facilitates the observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day in collaboration with:
- United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Asia and Pacific
- United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
- United Nations Development Programme - Asia-Pacific Regional Centre
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Office - Jakarta
Early warning and action are very effective tools to save people and prevent the hazard from becoming a disaster.
World Tsunami Awareness Day: Timeline
- 1918- Tsunami in Puerto Rico
- 1964-The Alaska Tsunami
- 2004-The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
- November 5, 2015-World Tsunami Awareness Day Is Declared.
World Tsunami Day 2022: History
- In the past 100 years, 58 of them have claimed more than 260,000 lives.
- The highest number of deaths in that period was in the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 (around 227,000 fatalities in 14 countries, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand being hardest hit).
- Sendai Framework: The 15-year international agreement adopted in March 2015. Rapid urbanization and tourism in disaster-prone regions are putting more people in danger. This Framework works towards minimizing the risk.
Tsunami: Definition & Causes
- It is a Japanese word which means- tsu: harbour, nami: wave
- A tsunami is a series of waves created by an underwater disturbance usually associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean.
- Causes of Tsunami: Submarine landslides, volcanic eruptions, coastal rock falling, earthquakes, extraterrestrial collision, etc.
- Most strong earthquakes occur in subduction zones where an ocean plate slides under a continental plate or another younger ocean plate.
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Very large earthquake that lasts more than 20 seconds.
This day is celebrated to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.
The largest tsunami wave recorded in 1958, a 1,720 foot tsunami towered over Lituya Bay.
In deep ocean, a tsunami can move as fast as a jet plane, over 500 mph, and its wavelength may be hundreds of miles.
In Indian Ocean- affecting over 230,000 people in 14 countries
1755: Lisbon Earthquake & Tsunami
2004: Sumatran Tsunami
2011: Tōhoku tsunami
January 15, 2022: The Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted.