World Tsunami Awareness Day 2020: All you need to know about day aimed at 'strengthening disaster risk governance'
The day is based on a practice known in Japan known as 'Inamura-no-hi' or the burning of rice sheaves that took place when a tsunami occurred due to the 1854 Ansei Nankai Earthquake
The World Tsunami Awareness Day 2020 is observed every year on 5 November with an aim to create ways to save lives in view of future disasters. The United Nations, through a resolution adopted on 22 December, 2015, designated the day to be World Tsunami Awareness Day. It aligns with the International Day for Disaster Reduction (October 13) and the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Tsunamis are rare events, but they are among the deadliest and costliest disasters.
— United Nations (@UN) November 4, 2020
According to the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC), while tsunamis are rare events, they can be among the deadliest and costliest hazards, affecting economic sectors, agriculture, housing and tourism. ITIC added that education, including evacuation drills for ensuring that communities act decisively and without panic when tsunami warning reach them is very important.
The day is based on a practice known in Japan known as 'Inamura-no-hi' or the burning of rice sheaves that took place on 5, November, 1854 when a tsunami occurred due to the 1854 Ansei Nankai Earthquake.
The tsunami struck a little village called Hiromura, where a farmer Hamaguchi Goryo noticed the lowering of the tide and decrease in water level (a tsunami warning sign) and guided fellow villagers to evacuate to higher ground by setting fire to his precious sheaves of rice as a signal of warning.
In 2020, World Tsunami Awareness Day will promote targets of the Sendai Seven Campaign, which encourages communities and countries to have national and local disaster risk reduction strategies in place to save more lives against disasters by end of 2020.
In the past 100 years, 58 tsunamis have caused over 2,60,000 fatalities with the highest number of casualties being caused during the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, which alone led to the death of at least 2,27,000 people across 14 nations.
UN Secretary General António Guterres issued a statement to mark World Tsunami Awareness Day stating that currently we are struggling with a tsunami of death and disease due to COVID-19 and that the UN system is working with partners around the globe to educate the public, organise drills, create evacuation routes and to do everything possible to avoid heavy loss of life when the next tsunami comes.
"Strengthening disaster risk governance is the theme of this year’s World Tsunami Awareness Day," he said, adding that it should help build resilience to all hazards both natural and man-made.
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