many witnessed and experienced on that tragic Boxing day Tsunami event in 2004, it does not take much to produce such a disaster.
However, signs do materialize if you know what to look for. For example, on that fateful Boxing day a 10 year old girl on
the beach who had recently learnt about Tusmnami’s in class, saw the sea rapidly recede and warned people to run away
from the beach, thus saving a few lives in the process. Forewarned is forearmed as the adage goes.
More recently, May 3rd 2006, Tonga islands in the Pacific experienced an earthquake of 8 magnitude producing
a Tsunami warning from the NOAA PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER, later cancelled.
it was interesting to note that a New Zealand news talk radio station were discussing the fact that they had not been given
sufficient warning of the event, as discussed here:
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre based in Hawaii, believes New Zealand's Civil Defence could have handled yesterday's alert
better, but is taking a look at its own systems.
Defence is being criticised for being too slow to react to the emergency but centre geophysicist Gerard Fryer says Civil Defence
was quick to respond and knew exactly what was going on. However, he admits there is probably room to improve communications
with the public
whole article here
Katrina, it appears we are mainly on our own when the crunch comes, as the authorities may not be in a position to offer immediate
assistance or guidance. Therefore it is prudent to gain as much information as possible and practice preparation and survival
techniques, prior to any such disaster.
Bear in mind, that many
of the preparation guidelines for any major disaster encompass a general formula, that is, emergency kits, evacuation plans,
vehicle readiness, alternate rendezvous locations, house security, medical procedures and so on. By encompassing the general
“formula” and employing it for each particular type of disaster, you and your family should at least recognise
the signs, be prepared and act out your well-drilled evacuation plan. Knowing these preparations and putting them into practice
may save lives.
What is a Tsunami?
tsunamis are often referred to as “tidal waves,” they are not related to tides but are rather a series of waves,
or “wave trains,” usually caused by earthquakes. Tsunamis have also been caused by the eruption of some coastal
and island volcanoes, submarine landslides, and oceanic impacts of large meteorites. Tsunami waves can
more than 30 feet high as they come into shore and can rush miles inland across low-lying areas
See Physics of Tsunami’s http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/physics.htm
1. The vertical movement of the sea floor as a result
of large thrust-type submarine earthquakes (called subduction zone earthquakes),
2. Submarine volcanic eruptions,
3. Meteor impacts
4. Coastal (land-based or submarine) landslides.
Tsunamis usually occur in zones of strong seismic
activity. The most active tsunami zone is the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by the Ring of Fire
Tsunamis travel outward in all directions from the
source area and can strike coastal areas with devastating effect even in areas far removed from the source. Their speed depends
on the depth of water. In the deep and open ocean waves can reach speeds of 800 kilometers per hour (approximately 480 mph)
while upon reaching shallower water, the speed slows somewhat.
The height of the waves in deep water may range from
30 to 60 centimeters (1-2 feet), producing only a gentle rise and fall of the sea surface, and are usually unnoticed. As a
tsunami wave enters the shallow waters of a coastline, its speed decreases rapidly. This causes the front of the wave to slow
down relative to the back, producing a greater height as the water piles up onto the coastline.
The first visible
indication of an approaching tsunami may be the rapid retreat of the ocean. In some instances, particularly with local tsunamis,
the water may initially rise.
to look for prior to a Tsunami
- Ground shaking
- Receding of sea – it could return with a massive
· Watch the animals – are they behaving in an unusual manner, or exiting an area in large
you are at the beach or near the ocean, and you feel the earth shake, move immediately inland to higher ground. DO NOT wait
for a tsunami warning to be issued. Stay away from rivers and streams that lead to the ocean due to strong tsunami wave action
large number of waves
- Each wave could be larger than the next, and wave events
could last a few hours
- Head for high ground – or inland, stay there
until danger is definitely subsided
- Save your lives not belongings
could subside or crack
for Landslides and road blockages
unable to move to higher inland or inland, as a last resort, attempt to gain height, climb a tall tree or the top floor of
a high building
you are caught up in a Tsunami, grab onto any floatable material
leaves debris such as building remains, sand and bodies, watch out for these.
have a boat
Tsunami waves are imperceptible
in the open ocean. Do not return to
port if you are at sea and a tsunami warning
has been issued.
Boats are safer from tsunami damage
while in the deep ocean of at least 200
fathoms deep (1,200 feet or 400
meters) rather than moored in a harbour. Port
facilities could become damaged
and hazardous with debris.
Listen to mariner radio reports when it
is safe to return to port.
In a locally generated earthquake
- tsunami scenario, there will be no time to
deploy a boat as waves can come ashore
Damaging wave activity and unpredictable
currents can affect harbors for some
time following the initial tsunami
impact on the coast. Contact the harbour
authority or listen to mariner
radio reports before returning to port.
Make sure that conditions in the
harbour are safe for navigation and berthing
the event for evacuation, follow the general formula that we have included in many of the disaster event articles, such as
flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes etc.
I include a brief overview here for your quick reference.
If you have to evacuate from your location it is important to have
several pre-planned exit routes in order for a safe and immediate evacuation. You must decide on a safe prearranged meeting
place if you are to rendezvous with other members of your family or close friends.
This may be a place where everyone
is familiar with, it could be near a familiar landmark, a building or prearranged campsite etc.
Consider drawing route
maps to avoid confusion for others, but be cautious in how you distribute the maps.
See emergency preparedness
Establish a meeting place.
Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
Check on the school emergency plan of any school-age children you may have
If local authorities ask you to leave your home,
they have a good reason to make this request, and you should heed the advice immediately. Listen to your radio or television
and follow the instructions of local emergency officials and keep these simple tips in mind-
long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes so you can be protected as much as possible.
your disaster supplies kit.
your pets with you; do not leave them behind. Because pets are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go to
a relatives’ or friend's home, or find a "pet-friendly" hotel.
See our article
on Pets in Disaster http://www.ambilacuk.com/safesurvival/pets.html
travel routes specified by local authorities don't use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
away from downed power lines.
See our article on earthquake preparation, which includes a list for disaster
Also see our article on short-term survival preparation
of emergency preparations
below is a list of essential kit for your vehicle – this is a general list and it may be a good idea to keep such a
kit in readiness for any event
Vehicle Emergency Kit:
First aid kit (including any medication you or your family are being prescribed)
Torch (plus spare battery and/or torch charged via the vehicle battery)
Blanket, or at least a space survival blanket
Newspapers (for insulation)
Folding shovel (useful in snow and ice to dig your vehicle out)
Spare jacket, socks and gloves
Chocolate or energy bars
Container of water
Basic set of tools
Old sleeping bag (especially useful if you drive regularly during winter)
Matches or fire-starter
Last, but by no means least, a fully charged mobile/cell phone