World Tsunami Awareness Day - November 5

The United Nations has designated November 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day..  The day aligns with the International Day for Disaster Reduction (October 13) and the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

History of World Tsunami Awareness Day

It was in 2015 that the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day. The first-ever World Tsunami Awareness Day (WTAD) has been observed on November 5, 2016 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.

Japan was behind observing the World Tsunami Awareness Day.  The date of 5 November was chosen in honour of a true story from Japan: “Inamura-no-hi”, which means the “burning of the rice sheaves”.

"Inamura no Hi" is a story of a man who noticed a precursor of a large tsunami at the earliest stage and led village inhabitants to a high ground by burning harvested rice sheaves. This story was based on a true story at the time of Ansei-Nankai Tsunami (1854), which claimed around 3,000 lives in the coastal areas of Western Japan

Read the story here

What is Tsunami?

The word tsunami is derived from Japanese, from tsu ‘harbour’ + nami ‘wave’.

A tsunami is a large ocean wave usually caused by a sudden underwater disturbance like earthquake or a volcanic explosion. Landslides, volcanic activity, certain types of weather, and meteorites can also cause tsunamis.  Tsunamis occur rarely and it is reported that tsunamis occur twice every year. Highly destructive tsunamis occur approximately in every 15 years. 

Indian Ocean Tsunami

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that took place on 26 December 2004 is considered to be an eye-opener for India as it introduced the Indian coastline to tsunami and its destructible power.  The 100-foot high tsunami triggered by an earthquake of magnitude 9.1, one of the largest ever recorded, from under the Indian Ocean killed more than 230,000 people in South Asia.

India is the first country to establish an early warning system for tsunami detection, while Odisha is the first state in the country to get Tsunami Ready recognition.

Further Reading

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