On World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021, UN calls for increased understanding of threat, risk reduction

Published on Nov 05, 2021 08:56 AM IST

While the UN said that tsunamis were rare events, it also noted that in the past 100 years, as many as 58 instances of the natural disaster were observed that had claimed the lives of 260,000 people, or 4,600 deaths per disaster.

Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and extraterrestrial collisions were among the top reasons listed by the UN that could cause a tsunami. In picture - Tsunami waves hitting the coast of Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, in the wake of a 9.0-magnitude quake.(AFP | Representational image)
Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and extraterrestrial collisions were among the top reasons listed by the UN that could cause a tsunami. In picture - Tsunami waves hitting the coast of Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, in the wake of a 9.0-magnitude quake.(AFP | Representational image)
Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

On World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres cautioned that rising sea levels caused by the climate emergency will further exacerbate the destructive power of tsunamis. “On World Tsunami Awareness Day, we call on countries, international bodies, and civil society to increase understanding about the threat and share innovative approaches to reduce risks,” he said in his message on the day.

“We must limit warming to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial averages and invest at scale in the resilience of coastal communities,” he further said. “Science and international cooperation — as well as preparedness and early action — must be at the heart of our efforts to save lives from tsunamis and other hazards,” he added.

The United Nations (UN) in December 2015 designated November 5 every year as World Tsunami Awareness Day to call on “countries, international bodies and civil society to raise awareness about the natural disaster and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.”

World Tsunami Awareness Day is a brainchild of Japan, which has developed major expertise over the years on tsunami early warning and public action due to the country’s “repeated, bitter experience” with the disaster.

“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. Scaling up international cooperation to developing countries will help ensure that 100% of communities at risk of a tsunami are prepared for and resilient to tsunamis by 2030,” the UN said.

While the UN said that tsunamis were rare events, it also noted that in the past 100 years, as many as 58 instances of the natural disaster were observed that had claimed the lives of 260,000 people, or 4,600 deaths per disaster.

Also, the deadliest of them was the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian ocean. UN estimates showed that 227,000 people lost their lives during the calamity in 14 countries along the ocean. India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand were among the countries that were the worst affected during the 2004 tsunami.

Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and extraterrestrial collisions were among the top reasons listed by the UN that could cause a tsunami. Of these, volcanic eruptions were “relatively infrequent” and extraterrestrial collisions were “extremely rare” occurrences, the UN noted.

After three weeks of the 2004 tsunami, the international community adopted the 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action. In 2015, further to the framework, the 15-year Sendai Framework was adopted for disaster risk reduction. It “outlines seven clear targets and four priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks,” according to the UN.

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