Washington, 6 November: On occasion of the first World Tsunami Awareness Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon emphasized the importance of reducing current and future levels of risk, particularly through strengthening preparedness, on Saturday. World Tsunami Awareness Day is marked on 5 November.
The theme of the 2016 World Tsunami Day is Effective Education and Evacuation Drills. “Tsunamis may be rare but, like any other natural hazard, if we fail to prepare and raise awareness, then we risk paying a heavy price,” said Ban in his message.
“This should be a clear guiding principle for all those working in the public and private sectors that have to take decisions on major infrastructure projects in seismic zones and near exposed coastlines.” “Tsunamis also pose a significant threat to major infrastructure either already built or planned for coastal areas,” he further added.Early warning systems have become more advanced, particularly since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which claimed nearly 226,000 lives and caused great devastation in many countries of South and South-East Asia. The waves reached as far as South Africa and Yemen. Tsunamis that occurred have killed many people and have left thousands more homeless. Since 1996, 250,900 people have died in 21 countries affected by 30 tsunamis.
Also, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Glasser, warned against gratification in confronting the threat of tsunamis. While addressing the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in New Delhi, India from 2 to 5 November, Glasser stated that many years of data have shown that devastating tsunamis can impact most regions of the world.“Europe and the Americas are vulnerable as well as the countries surrounding the Indian and Pacific Oceans which have suffered considerably over the last 20 years,” he said, referring to a report assessing tsunami hazards over the last 400 years. Also, the report, prepared by Tohoku University, was launched at the Ministerial Conference.
Stressing on the importance of preparedness was the major reason of revealing the UNISDR study 'Tsunami Disaster Risk 2016: Past impacts and projections' which also drew attention to the fact that population growth has greatly increased risk to tsunamis and other hazards in many regions.
In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day, calling on all countries, international bodies and civil society to observe the day, in order to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.