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World Tsunami Awareness Day: Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

"On this first World Tsunami Awareness Day, UNESCO’s message is clear. Tsunami Warning is research and knowledge-sharing at its very best. It calls for more synergies among scientific research, technology and education, building also on the wealth of indigenous knowledge and local cultures to better understand our environment and protect human lives. It needs more and better funding, it requires more and stronger cooperation. Let us all commit to strengthen even further the resilience of societies, through Disaster Risk Reduction and Tsunami Warning. This is key to take the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development forward. This is key to help millions of people live in dignity and security."

Full message: English

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WTAD Global Event

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Educating and Training to Save Lives

This first World Tsunami Awareness Day will focus on education and evacuation drills: two areas where UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission has been at the forefront.

These two themes come together in the Japanese story "Inamura no Hi", which tells how a farmer anticipated the 1854 Ansei Nankai earthquake and tsunami, and saved his fellow villagers by burning his entire rice crop to alert them to the danger. The "Inamura no Hi" story exemplifies the power of knowledgeable citizens to save lives.

IOC has a long history in organizing training and awareness activities. Exercises to test the tsunami early warning systems are increasingly coupled with evacuation drills at the community level.

IOC has coordinated the Pacific Tsunami Warning System for over 50 years. Following the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, IOC moved quickly to extend its Global Tsunami Warning System coverage through the establishment of early warning services in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and North Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas.

Education, community awareness of tsunami risk and preparedness go hand in hand with the development of Tsunami Warning Systems. After all, a perfect warning will be useless if people do not know what to do in case of an emergency.

Tsunami: Lesson Learnt from the Japanese story "Inamura No Hi"

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World Tsunami Awareness Day - Official Infographic

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Selected Publications

Remembering the 1945 Makran Tsunami (2015)

Tsunami Glossary (2016 Update)

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