Dominica joined the rest of the world in observing 5th November as World Tsunami Awareness Day. This is the first observance since the decision was taken by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution, to designate 5th November each year as World Tsunami Awareness day, and stipulated that the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), in collaboration with other relevant organizations of the United Nations System, assist with its observance.
November 5th was selected by the UN General Assembly to coincide with the annual anniversary of the 1854 Fire of Inamura event. On that day, a villager in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan through his quick action had saved countless lives when he set fire to sheaves of rice on top of a hill, thus warning people of the imminent danger of a tsunami. This was the first documented instance of a Tsunami early warning.
This first World Tsunami Awareness Day worldwide is focusing on effective education and evacuation drills. Although Tsunamis do not occur very frequently, they can cause huge disasters as the 2004 Indian Ocean which affected 14 different countries and resulted in more than 250,000 casualties.
The event in the Caribbean region was organized within the framework of the Special Committee Meeting of the Disaster Risk Reduction annually organized by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
Tsunamis have impacted the Caribbean in the past and are therefore expected to occur in the future. In the past 500 years, there have been at least ten destructive, confirmed earthquake-generated Tsunamis in the Caribbean basin with four causing fatalities. An estimated number of more than 3000 people are thought to have been killed by these events.
The Office of Disaster Management will continue Tsunami effective education, Evacuation Drills and other activities in coastal communities and seek to establish Tsunami Ready Communities. A meeting to commemorate the UN decision was held in Port of Spain Trinidad on 20th October 2016.
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