Tsunami Awareness day – Join the Wave of Awareness

The Sumatra Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 caused over 230,000 fatalities and 1.7 million people were left homeless in the 14 different countries bordering the ocean. Two years later Japan was hit and although warning and evacuation systems had successfully been put in place it still took lives of more than 18,000 people. The earthquake was so powerful it shifted Japan four metres closer to America.

Although tsunamis are natural disasters and cannot be stopped, actions can be taken to reduce damage and improve preparedness. The Tsunami Awareness Day, honoured on 5th November, helps raise awareness amongst people to look out for early warning signs and have a better chance of survival. It is important for governmental and non-governmental organisations to continue highlighting importance of this day and share innovative approaches for tsunami preparedness and response.

 

How is the Day Celebrated?

Improving knowledge, increasing awareness and placing light on how people should react if hit by tsunami, is what the United Nations hope to be the key takeaway from the day. Conferences, seminars, and debates are organised at national and international levels.  Following Japan’s Earthquake this year and past experiences with tsunamis, a summit is being held in Okinawa, Japan. Six Mauritius students have also been invited to gain and share knowledge from Japanese expertise’s. Mauritius was one of 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean affected by the 2004 Tsunami; the country’s economy lost millions of dollars. The Foreign Affairs Minister of Mauritius, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo is in support of the cause as it “remains essential for Mauritius and other islands of the Indian Ocean Commission to be well prepared at the level of disaster prevention and management.” Events will be held worldwide in support of the day, please see details here.

History

The Sendai Framework for the Reduction of Disaster Risk is a non-binding agreement that observes ways in which the state can have a vital role in reducing disaster risk. The Sendai Framework sets four specific priorities for action including understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

It was adopted by the UN at the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai in 2015. During the conference, the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development was also proposed. It was highlighted that tsunamis could cause threat to countries reaching their Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This influenced Japan and other countries to put Tsunami awareness day in place.

This year’s theme is ‘We want to protect people’s lives’ – with the continuation of learning and raising awareness each year lives will be saved in the future. 

The Aid and International Development Forum will be hosting the Global Disaster Relief and Development Summit on 5-6th September 2018 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The Summit will gather industry experts to share best practice and technology to enhance disaster preparedness and strengthen disaster management capacities. Participants will also look into how to manage climate-related disaster risks more effectively and technological innovations used to better reach and engage communities.

To learn more about the Global Disaster Relief and Development Summit, visit the website

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