UN welcomes World Tsunami Awareness Day

The United Nations General Assembly has recognised 5th November as World Tsunami Awareness Day. It could help reduce risks from both man-made and natural hazards.

Lives could be saved if there was greater public awareness of the threats posed by natural hazards like tsunamis, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The office has welcomed the resolution adopted by the General Assembly recognising 5th November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.

Margareta Wahlström, special representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, commented in a statement that the designation of the day was a “welcome step.”

She said: “It will help to focus attention on measures which can be taken to reduce risks from both man-made and natural hazards and to ensure that more people live and work in places which are free from the threat not just of tsunamis but other sudden onset hazards such as earthquakes, floods and storms.”

The proposal was first suggested by the Japanese Government after the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai in March.

Japan has suffered heavy losses as a result of tsunamis. Most recently, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11th March 2011 claimed more than 15,000 lives, disrupted the nuclear power industry and left thousands homeless.

Ms. Wahlström added: “It should be remembered that the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which claimed some 230,000 lives from countries across the world galvanised political commitment to reducing disaster risk and disaster losses.

“The memory of that event helped to ensure the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction this year which sets targets for the first time on reducing mortality, the numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure from disasters.”

Photo credit: telemal/ CC BY-SA 2.0

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