The First World Tsunami Awareness Day was observed across the world on 5 November 2016. The theme for the year is Effective Education and Evacuation Drills.
In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
Significance of the World Tsunami Awareness Day
• The significance of the day to tsunami awareness can be traced back to the year 1854. A villager in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, was concerned about an impending tsunami after a high-intensity earthquake on 5 November 1854. He set up a fire to rice sheaves on the top of a hill. Fellow villagers, who went atop to put off the fire, were saved even as a tsunami destroyed their village down below. This was the first documented instance of a tsunami early warning.
• To commemorate that day of “Inamura no Hi” (the burning of rice sheaves), a resolution was jointly proposed by 142 countries including Japan as a follow up of the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The United Nations designated the 5th November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.
• The observance of the day will help to spread awareness among people across the world in matters related to the dangers of tsunami.
• It will also stress on the importance of early warning systems in order to mitigate damage from the often devastating natural hazard.
• It also aims at reviving traditional knowledge about tsunamis.
• Awareness raising activities will be organized throughout the Conference through thematic events, exhibitions, and distribution of awareness materials.