Corn Island: Joining the Tsunami Ready global community
Corn Island is a popular tourist spot 70 kilometers from the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Mayor Cleveland Webster helped his community become Tsunami Ready in September 2019. Community workshops helped to improve coordination between the community, government agencies, and visitors. A colorful mural of the evacuation map was painted on a prominent public building. The early warning system includes a siren at the municipal center that can be heard across the island. Maps and signage in key locations also make it easier to find evacuation routes.
Tonga: Joining the Tsunami Ready global community
The Kingdom of Tonga is vulnerable to tsunamis because many of its islands are located in close proximity to the Tonga Trench. Computer models show an 8.7 magnitude earthquake east of Tongatapu would send a tsunami to the capital Nuku’alofa in 25 minutes. The lack of high ground means local communities must be well prepared for rapid evacuation and this modeling has supported a new awareness campaign and evacuation strategy.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica: Joining the Global Tsunami Ready community
Tamarindo is a small coastal community located on the North Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In this popular tourist town, the National Tsunami Monitoring System (SINAMOT) and the Integral Development Association of Tamarindo (ADIT) worked closely with the tourist sector to develop a Tsunami Preparedness and Response Plan for local residents and tourists. As part of this work a short video was also produced to help locals and tourists to understand the steps to follow in the event of an evacuation
Puerto Rico: Joining the global Tsunami Ready community
About 10% of the population of Puerto Rico, some 300,000 people, reside in areas exposed to tsunamis. On 07 January 2020, the country was struck by a destructive 6.4 earthquake and, although a tsunami was not generated, the community of Guayanilla self-evacuated. Guayanilla is recognized as a Tsunami Ready community and local emergency managers have been key in their preparedness and education efforts, installing tsunami signage and coordinating the CARIBE WAVE and ShakeOut exercises.
New Zealand: Joining the global Tsunami Ready community
New Zealand has joined the Tsunami-ready community thank to its science community which has risen awareness on tsunami risk. In Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, many coastal communities now have a blue line painted across roads and footpaths to show the safe places to evacuate to if there are an earthquake and tsunami. The Blue Lines Project was originally developed by the Wellington community of Island Bay together with support from GNS Science.
Kos in Greece and Bodrum in Turkey: Joining the global Tsunami Ready community
In 2017 a small tsunami impacted Bodrum in Turkey and the Greek Island of Kos. The Tsunami Last Mile Project was initiated to improve warnings for locally generated tsunamis. In Kos, a tsunami preparedness exercise was conducted in November 2019 and Bodrum carried out a tabletop exercise involving meetings with stakeholders on tsunami readiness. In Kos, the 4-hour simulation involved the entire local emergency response system and two schools were evacuated after a tsunami warning was issued by newly installed technologies.
Fiji: Joining the global Tsunami Ready community
In 2017 Fiji launched its first National Tsunami Response Plan. Evacuation maps have been used to inform tsunami drills that began in 2018 with schools and coastal villages. The Tsunami Response Plans for each village outlines roles and responsibilities for every community member. This local consultation with communities has also informed national guidelines for tsunami preparedness in Fiji.
The Philippines: Joining the global Tsunami Ready community
In 2009 a devastating tsunami destroyed 20 villages in Samoa and 187 people lost their lives. Today Tsunami Ready plans have been mainstreamed into the disaster management plans for over 380 schools, including regular drills and education programs for students.
Hawaii: Joining the Tsunami Ready global community
Hawaii's world-famous Waikiki Beach is also vulnerable to tsunamis. This densely populated urban area is often full of tourists and local residents but it offers little in the way of evacuation routes. In the 1990s Waikiki introduced a policy that encouraged vertical evacuation and people were advised to evacuate to the third floor or higher in buildings of six stories or more. In 2015 the policy was updated to recommend evacuation to the 4th floor or higher in buildings 10 stories or more.
Java: Joining the Tsunami Ready global community
In Indonesia, most at-risk communities are 200–250km from the Java Trench where tsunamis can arrive in less than 30 minutes after a major earthquake. In many coastal areas on the south of West Java, such as Pangandaran, people live along narrow coastal plains underneath high cliffs. Since 2018 the West Java Province has been developing evacuation routes and supporting community efforts become Tsunami Ready
Odisha, India joining the Tsunami Ready global community
The Indian state of Odisha has become a role model for tsunami preparedness across the Indian Ocean region. On 7 August 2020, the villages of Venkatraipur and Noliasahi became recognized as the first Tsunami Ready communities in the Indian Ocean region by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. The villages now have community response plans, tsunami warning signs, evacuation routes, safe zones, reinforced by regular evacuation drills.
Oman: Joining the Tsunami Ready global community
Oman is exposed to tsunami threats from the Makran and Sumatran subduction zones. In 2015 Oman launched its National Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (NMHEWS) which is designed to respond to a range of natural hazards, including tsunamis.
Vanuatu: Joining the Tsunami Ready global community
Vanuatu is at high risk from tsunamis and, in 2016, over fifty community consultations helped to inform tsunami plans for Port Vila & Luganville. These consultations informed the design of evacuation routes, signage, and sirens. Community Disaster Committees have also been formed to support disaster preparedness and response activities including regular tsunami drills.
Having a plan in place to know what to do and where to go
In the Caribbean, more than 10 countries have a TsunamiReady plan which can make a huge difference in lives saved. Puerto Rico, US (Mayaguez and Guayanilla) - Mayagüez was the first community in the Caribbean to be recognized as TsunamiReady in 2016 by the US National Weather Service. For the past 14 years, it has led the way in community preparedness measures for over 18,000 people who live and work in the tsunami evacuation zone.
In France, the city of Cannes conducts regular simulation exercises to remind its populations of the potential danger.
Having early warning systems saves lives
In Odisha, India, communities know what to do when a tsunami hits. An efficient early warning system has been developed over the years together with regular preparedness plans to better protect populations at risk.
Practicing drills can save lives
In 18 countries in Asia and the Pacific, more than 60,000 students and teachers have already participated in tsunami drills and have evacuation plans in place once a tsunami warning is received. Education is the key to saving lives.