By 2030, half of the world’s population will be exposed to floods, storms and tsunamis |
That is why the United Nations has chosen enhanced international cooperation for developing countries as the theme for this year’s World Tsunami Awareness Day.
In a message to mark the day, the UN Secretary-General called on all countries, international organizations and civil society to better understand the deadly threat and to share innovative approaches to reduce the risks.
“We can build on the progress made, ranging from raising awareness among tsunami-prone communities around the world to including a Tsunami program in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development,” said António Guterres.
The UN chief however warned that the risks “remain immense”.
“The rise in sea level caused by the climate emergency will further exacerbate the destructive power of tsunamis,” he said. “We need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial averages and invest on a large scale in the resilience of coastal communities. ”
Rapid urbanization and increasing tourism in tsunami-prone areas are also putting even more people at risk.
For Mr. Guterres, science, international cooperation, preparedness and early action must be at the center of all efforts to ensure the safety of individuals and communities.
“It is essential to strengthen support to developing countries and improve detection and early warning. In the face of increasingly complex global crises, we must be better prepared, ”he argued.
In 2021, World Tsunami Awareness Day promotes the “Sendai Seven Campaign”, in particular the goal of strengthening international cooperation with developing countries.
The Secretary-General concludes his message with a call to implement the Sendai Framework and, together, build resilience to all disasters.
Rare but deadly
Tsunamis are rare events but can be extremely deadly.
Over the past 100 years, 58 of them have killed more than 260,000, an average of 4,600 per disaster, more than any other natural hazard.
The highest number of fatalities occurred in the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, which caused an estimated 227,000 deaths in 14 countries. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand were the hardest hit.
Just three weeks after the disaster, the international community gathered in Kobe, Japan, and adopted the Hyogo 10-Year Framework of Action, the first comprehensive global agreement on disaster risk reduction.
They also created the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, which uses seismographic and sea level monitoring stations to send alerts to national tsunami information centers.
After the Hyogo Framework for Action expired in 2014, the world adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, setting seven clear goals and four priorities for preventing and reducing disaster risk.