New Delhi, October 13: November 5 will be celebrated as the First World Tsunami Awareness Day. To honour the occasion an event will be held with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Champions at the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016. India, along with 23 other Indian Ocean countries, participated in a tsunami mock drill on September 7-8, 2016.
Awareness raising activities will be organized throughout the Conference. The Conference is organized by the Government of India from November 3-5, 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The significance of this day can be traced back to the year 1854.
A villager in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, was concerned about an impending tsunami after a high-intensity earthquake on November 5, 1854. He set up a fire to rice sheaves on the top of a hill. Fellow villagers, who went atop to put off the fire, were saved even as a tsunami destroyed their village down below. This was the first documented instance of a tsunami early warning.
To commemorate that day of “Inamura no Hi” (the burning of rice sheaves), a resolution was jointly proposed by 142 countries including Japan as a follow up of the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The United Nations designated the 5th November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
Observing this day will help to spread awareness among people across the world in matters related to the dangers of tsunami and shall stress on the importance of early warning systems in order to mitigate damage from the often devastating natural hazard. It also aims at reviving traditional knowledge about tsunamis. Along with increasing awareness, the drill evaluated the preparedness of participating nations to handle tsunami and other similar emergency situations.
Events like exhibitions, thematic events, and distribution of awareness materials will be conducted in the conference. Following the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, the Government of India established an Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) under the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) at Hyderabad. The Centre, operational since October 2007, has state-of-the-art infrastructure for generating and disseminating tsunami bulletins for the entire Indian Ocean region.