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Venkatraipur and Noliasahi in the Odisha State (India) are the first communities in the Indian Ocean region to obtain Tsunami Ready international recognition, the golden standard of tsunami preparedness awarded by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, UNESCO together with the UK National Oceanography Centre enabled Pakistan to repair the Karachi tide gauge, key instrument to monitoring sea level data for Pakistan and the region.
UNESCO and the European Commission just completed a major project to strengthen capacities to detect and respond to tsunamis and other coastal hazards in seven Caribbean countries.
The UN chief urged countries to make sure they invest the funds necessary to prevent and manage disasters, in a solemn message of remembrance on Wednesday for the 18,400 people who died or are unaccounted for, due to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan exactly ten years ago.
To better prepare for tsunamis, it is essential to focus on tsunami education as much as early warning facilities and systems. Currently, there are no established community tsunami recognition programmes in the North-Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean and Connected Seas (NEAM) region like in other regions (Caribbean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific).
The countries bordering the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and adjacent seas were prepared from 8 to 10 March to a tsunami preparedness exercise, set up under the aegis of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO). The exercise marks the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, which caused a deadly and devastating surge on the north-eastern coast of the island of Honshu, leading to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Coordinated by IOC-UNESCO, the Global Tsunami Warning System plays a critical role in protecting lives. The IOC-UNESCO Tsunami Programme supports Member States in assessing tsunami risk, implementing Tsunami Early Warning Systems (EWS) and in educating communities at risk about preparedness measures. With the support of Tsunami Service Providers and Tsunami Information Centers, IOC-UNESCO helps Member States in assessing tsunami risk, implementing Tsunami EWS and in educating communities at risk about preparedness measures.
UNESCO launched an Online Lecture Series to highlight how its Tsunami Ready Program is motivating and encouraging communities in the Indian Ocean to reduce to a minimum the risks from future tsunamis on lives and property.
Regional guidelines for tsunami warning services, evacuation and sheltering during the COVID-19 pandemic are now available to ensure the safety of vulnerable coastal communities from ocean hazards while minimizing the risk of viral contagion.
Through the IOWave20 simulation exercise, Indian Ocean countries get to test their tsunami warning systems and response protocols even while they contend with the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis.