The United Nations (UN)’s World Tsunami Awareness Day (WTAD) is annually observed across the globe on 5th November to create awareness about Tsunami and to promote the measures for risk reduction.
- The UN Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), in collaboration with other UN systems, facilitates the observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day.
Note: The word “tsunami” comprises the Japanese words “tsu” (meaning harbour) and “nami” (meaning wave).
The aim of WTAD coincides with the International Day for Disaster Reduction (October 13) and the 7 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 goals.
Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030:
Over the next 15 years, the Sendai Framework intends to significantly reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health, as well as in the economic, physical, social, cultural, and environmental assets of individuals, businesses, communities, and countries.
- It was adopted by the UN Member states on 18th March 2015 at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Sendai City, Japan.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/70/203 on 22nd December 2015 and declared the 5th November of every year as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
ii. The WTAD was initiated by the Government of Japan, to raise awareness of the need for Tsunami preparedness. The 1st World Tsunami Awareness Day was observed on 5th November 2016.
iii. The designated date 5th November was chosen to mark the story of “Inamura-no-hi” (The fire of rice sheaves), an anecdote, which took place on 5th November 1854.
“Inamura-no-hi” (The fire of rice sheaves):
i. ‘Inamura-no-hi’ is based on a true story of the 1854 Ansei-Nankai Tsunami, which claimed around 3,000 lives in the coastal areas of Western Japan.
- The man who noticed the large Tsunami at the early stage had set fire to his rice sheaves to warn villagers to evacuate.
ii. The Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) created tsunami educational materials with fundamental knowledge of Tsunami in 8 nations, using the “Inamura no Hi” story, which was funded by the Japanese government.
UNDRR’s #GetToHighGround campaign:
For World Tsunami Awareness Day 2022, the UNDRR launched the “Get To High Ground” campaign, to engage residents by participating in a drill, a run, or a walk along tsunami evacuation routes.
- This campaign aims to prevent the hazard from becoming a disaster by reducing Tsunami risk globally through increasing access to early warning systems.
Tsunami Ready Recognition Programme:
The Tsunami Ready Recognition Programme is an international community-based recognition programme developed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
- The programme is to ensure that all coastal communities are “Tsunami Ready” by 2030 during the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
India’s first 2 ‘Tsunami Ready’ villages:
Two coastal villages- Noliasahi (Jagatsinghpur district) and Venkatraipur (Ganjam district) in Odisha were declared Tsunami Ready in 2020.
- These were the first two ‘Tsunami Ready’ villages in the Indian Ocean Region.
About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICO-UNESCO):
Executive Secretary- Dr Vladimir Ryabinin
Headquarters- Paris, France
Member States- 150