Author: Denis McClean

Tsunamis supreme test of risk governance - UN Secretary-General

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
António Guterres UN Secretary-General
UN Secretary-General António Guterres


We live in a multi-hazard world where risk is systemic and embedded in the very fabric of human development.


Currently we are struggling with what some describe as a tsunami of death and disease due to COVID-19.


This metaphor comes easily because living memory remains strong of the worst sudden onset disaster this century, the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 that took more than 227,000 lives.


Pandemic preparedness can borrow much from the progress we have made in reducing large-scale loss of life from tsunamis.


There are now early warning systems wherever coasts are vulnerable.


The United Nations system is working with partners around the globe to educate the public, organize drills, create evacuation routes and to do everything possible to avoid heavy loss of life when the next tsunami comes.


And come it surely will, just like the next pandemic, storm, flood, drought or heatwave.


When tsunamis strike, they are a supreme test of the governance and institutions that have been put in place to manage disaster risk.


Strengthening disaster risk governance is the theme of this year’s World Tsunami Awareness Day.


It should help build our resilience to all hazards, natural and man-made.


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