World Tsunami Awareness Day

Tsunamis can be deadly, but they needn’t be. Early warning and early action are effective tools to protect people, saving lives, and preventing the hazard from becoming a disaster. To be effective, tsunami early-warning systems must cover every at-risk person, they must be multi-hazard, and communities must be prepared so they can act quickly.

5 November   #TsunamiDay  #GetToHighGround

Report: Global status of multi-hazard early warning systems

This UNDRR-WMO joint report assesses the current global status of multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) against Target G of the Sendai Framework, collating data officially reported by the Member States with data collected through a WMO survey.

The findings identify countries’ challenges and note good practices in forecasting capabilities, early warning coverage, and systems to act on them.

View the report

Key strategies

Get to high ground!

With adequate warning and preparation, at-risk communities can make their way to safety by getting to higher ground when a tsunami strikes.

Regular tsunami drills and evacuation plans in 18 countries in Asia and the Pacific, involving than 60,000 students and teachers, means that once a tsunami warning is received they know where to go and what to do.

On World Tsunami Awareness Day we’re launching a new initiative – #GetToHighGround – which encourages and supports partners in raising awareness of tsunami risk by by organising a drill, fun run or walk of their tsunami evacuation route – to get to high ground.

The concept is to engage citizens, raising awareness of tsunami and coastal risk, tailoring the action to the local context.

Join the campaign

Leave no one behind

Children, the elderly, and disadvantaged sectors are often most at risk from hazards like tsunamis.

Risk management plans must include all members of society, especially the most vulnerable. No-one should be left behind when a tsunami strikes.

Education and preparedness save lives.

Early warning for early action

Early warning and early action save lives, yet only half of the world’s population is covered by early warning systems. People in the least developed countries and small island developing states have the least coverage.

In March 2022 the UN Secretary-General announced “the United Nations will spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early-warning systems within five years.” This includes early-warning systems for tsunamis.

Multi-hazard early warning systems

Tsunamis are usually caused by earthquakes below or near the ocean, but can also be set off by other events, like volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, and coastal rock falls.

Multi-hazard early warning systems need to monitor a range of systems to provide alerts of imminent tsunamis and other hazards, giving enough time for at-risk people to act. Additionally, the systems must be designed to go the “last mile” – ensuring the warning reaches at-risk communities.

For early-warning systems to be effective, they must multi-hazard – detecting different hazards that may occur alone, simultaneously, or cascade. They must be end-to-end – covering everything from hazard detection to action, providing understandable and actionable warning messages. And they must be people-centred – empowering people to act on time and in an appropriate manner to reduce potential harm.

Mami Mizutori

In the face of devastation, early warning and early action remain the most effective way of protecting people from tsunamis.

Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR

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