World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021: All you Need to Know about UN Designated Day

World Tsunami Awareness Day is a day to spread awareness about the deadly natural disaster. Know all about World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021 theme, significance, history, etc.

World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021, Source: UN
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021, Source: UN

Every year on November 5, World Tsunami Awareness Day is observed to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction. In the past 100 years, tsunamis have killed more than 2,60,000 people. The Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 claimed the highest number of lives which is estimated to be 2,27,000 across 14 countries. World Tsunami Awareness Day was the brainchild of Japan due to its repeated exposure to it.

On World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Rising sea level caused by the climate emergency” will further increase the risk associated with tsunamis, Guterres added while stressing to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

What is theme of World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021?

The theme of World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021 is ‘Enhancing international cooperation for developing countries to raise tsunami awareness’. The World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021 will be promoting the ‘Sendai Seven Campaign’ target (f). The campaign aims to ‘substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for the implementation of the present Sendai Framework by 2030’.

On this day, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all countries, international bodies, civil society for increasing understanding of tsunamis and share innovative approaches to reduce risks.

World Tsunami Awareness Day: Significance

In the past 100 years, more than 2,60,000 people lost their lives in 58 tsunamis. This accounts for an average of 4,600 deaths per tsunami, surpassing the death toll for any other natural hazard. However, tsunamis are rare events but can be extremely devastating. The Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 along had claimed the lives of 2,27,000 across 14 countries of which India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand were the hardest hit.

The significance of increasing understanding of tsunamis and innovative approaches to reduce risks is increasing as growing tourism and rapid urbanization in tsunami-prone areas are putting more people at risk. By 2030, an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in coastal areas which will expose them to tsunamis, floods, and storms. Therefore, enhancing international cooperation with developing countries will ensure that 100 per cent of these communities in tsunami-prone areas will be prepared and resilient to tsunamis by 2030.

World Tsunami Awareness Day: History

In December 2015, the UN General Assembly declared November 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day. The UN Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDDR) in collaboration with the UN system facilitates the observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day.

World Tsunami Awareness Day, however, was the brainchild of Japan due to its repeated exposure to the extremely devastating natural hazard. Just three weeks after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, Governments across the world adopted the 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action which is a global agreement on disaster risk reduction. They also devised the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System that monitors seismographic and sea-level events to alert the national tsunami information centres.

After the expiration of the Hyogo Framework for Action in 2014, the governments adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 that outlined seven clear targets and four priorities to prevent and reduce disaster risks.

What are tsunamis?

Tsunami word means ‘tsu (harbour) and ‘nami’ (wave). A tsunami is a series of enormous waves created due to underwater disturbance usually earthquakes below or near the ocean. Apart from earthquakes, falling of coastal rocks, volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides can also cause displacement of water mass.

Tsunami waves can reach upto heights of 98 feet (30 meters). The landslide-generated tsunami in Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958 reached up 1,722 feet (525 meters).

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