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Developing Tsunami Awareness and Reducing Disaster Risk


April 1, 2016


Debris strewn across an overwhelmed community following the 2004 Great Sumatra Earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami.

Given the devastating impacts that can occur from natural hazards, it is critical that families and individuals around the world take steps to reduce their risk with regard to disaster impacts. What matters most—what can truly save lives—is personally taking action. While April is Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii, being as prepared as you can, for any disaster at any time, is the most reasonable plan across Hawaii and around the world.

While the collaborative work of local, national, regional, and global organizations is helping to reduce the risks associated with tsunami and other disasters, the safety of your family still depends on what you and your family members know and what you do when a threatening event occurs, as well as how you prepare for the possibility.

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) offers various resources that can help with developing a family disaster plan or preparing a disaster supply kit. Along with taking those fundamental steps, PDC’s website offers resources that can provide guidance for teaching children about natural hazards.

This month, everyone (even if you only visit the seaside for a brief vacation) is encouraged to learn tsunami-warning signs and take immediate action if they suspect a tsunami is approaching, to learn evacuation strategies, and to consider overall community approaches to resilience.

To learn more about tsunamis for the safety of your family, start with these resources:
• Learn about the Tsunami Awareness Program (TAP), or
• Hawaii Hazards Awareness & Resilience Program (HHARP) to enhance community resilience,
• View Tsunami Information on the PDC website,
• Access both the static and interactive maps of Hawaii tsunami evacuation zones,
• Read information about the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004,
• Refer to the International Tsunami Information Center's 2013 Tsunami Glossary,
• Look at a 7-point list of Tsunami Preparedness steps,
• Read about how parents can help kids learn about disaster preparedness, and
• View a National Geographic video of the 2011 Tohoku Tsunami in Japan.

More from Pacific Disaster Center

To keep yourself up-to-the-minute about hazards and disasters:

For the latest Weather and Disaster News, use the PDC Weather Wall.

While you are thinking of hazards, think of preparedness. PDC provides disaster preparedness information, including printable instructions for assembling a Disaster Supply Kit and rehearsing a Family Disaster Plan.

For more information on DisasterAWARE products:

  • For details, see the Training Guide for Web-accessible Disaster Alert,
  • Read and understand more about custom versions, such as DMRS and VinAWARE,
  • Watch the ASEAN DMRS video on YouTube.

About PDC:

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) envisions a safer, more secure world—where populations live in more disaster-resilient communities informed by science and technology, and equipped with sound decision support tools. To help make that vision a reality, PDC is dedicated to supporting evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts by providing actionable information and applications to the public and disaster managers worldwide. PDC, a program managed by the University of Hawaii, was established by the U.S. government in 1996.