In 2015 the United Nations declared that each year 5 November would be observed as World Tsunami Awareness Day – a reminder that when a tsunami strikes, everyone must be ready to get to high ground.
Like all disasters, tsunamis have an unequal and unique impact on the affected population. Poverty levels, exposure, discrimination and other vulnerabilities all play a key role in determining who is likely to be affected and how. For example, following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 that affected 12 countries, it was found that poor households were more likely to see their “flimsy houses” wash away, while the brick houses of richer households proved sturdier.
Satellites equipped with specialized sensors can detect and monitor various indicators, such as sea surface temperatures, ocean currents, and underwater seismic activities. By analyzing these data, scientists can identify potential tsunami-triggering events, like underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Additionally, satellites can track the movement of ocean waves in real-time, helping experts predict the path, speed, and intensity of a tsunami. This information is invaluable for issuing timely warnings to coastal communities, allowing them to evacuate and take necessary precautions, ultimately saving lives and minimizing damage in the event of a tsunami.
Find more information on the World Tsunami Awareness Day here.