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World Tsunami Awareness Day 2019 – Build To Last

On December 26th 2004, a devastating Tsunami in the Indian ocean created havoc in 14 countries, killing over 230,000 people. The tsunami was a result of an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 with the epicentre in Sumatra in Indonesia.
The earthquake wave hit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands followed by the Tsunami wave which caused complete submerging of the Indira Point. The most affected by this in mainland India were the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra. The death toll in India had reached to 18,000 people.
Tsunami is a Japanese word which means ‘harbour wave’. It is said so because it is a wave that destroys the harbour. The wave, generated in deep ocean because of a sudden release of energy, has low amplitude and high wavelength, because of low friction in water. This makes it difficult to detect a tsunami wave at a very early stage. This does not provide ample time to the coast dwellers to take steps to protect themselves.
It is therefore very important for Tsunami Prone areas to be always prepared to contain the disaster with minimum damages. To this note, the World Tsunami Awareness Day 2019 is promoting Target (d) of the “Sendai Seven Campaign” which focuses on reducing disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.
Over 700 million people live in low-lying coastal areas and Small Island Developing States exposed to extreme sea-level events including tsunamis (IPCC). Investing in resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, and education is critical to saving people and protecting their assets against tsunami risk in the future.
In support of #BuildToLast campaign by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), here are a number of tips including embracing safe construction practices that will help in building a safe house in a tsunami-prone area:

Using Concrete and Steel

Wood is a good building material for earthquake-prone areas. However, concrete and steel are highly recommended for tsunami-prone areas. This is because these make sturdy houses which has a chance at withstanding the wrath of a tsunami wave.

Deep foundations of the house

With deep foundations of a house, it stands stronger than that of houses with shallow or weak foundations.

Building a house at a height

It is highly advisable that the house is built at ample height. This way, the water can pass from under it and it can be saved from damages.

Building resistance through vegetation

As rough ground reduces the effects of the wave, it is not a good idea to cut down all the vegetation and produce a smooth unprotected beach. Mangrove swamps are particularly good at stopping Tsunamis. Reefs too should be left intact, and not destroyed for shipping channels.

Choosing the location carefully

It is better not to build buildings at low level on the shoreline at the top of a smooth shallow beach. This is especially the case if on the sides of an inlet, which can channel and enhance the waves.
Despite using all the safe construction practices, no house is totally safe from the wrath that is unleashed once a tsunami hits. However, one can always build a house that gives the most chance of surviving this calamity and leaving most of the house unscathed, which needs the minimum amount of repair.