Protecting People from Marine Hazards, Including Tsunamis

© Pilar Chiang

After forty years of experience coordinating the Pacific Tsunami Warning System (PTWS), UNESCO-IOC is leading a global effort to establish ocean-based tsunami warning systems as part of an overall multi-hazard disaster reduction strategy. The IOC Tsunami Unit works with Member States, together with other UN agencies and NGOs, to build sustainable tsunami early warning systems. The Unit’s mission is to ensure appropriate design and development of tsunami warning systems and to ultimately provide adequate protection at local, regional, and global scales.

Following the undersea earthquake on 26 December 2004 and the subsequent strongest tsunami in living memory, IOC took the lead in coordinating activities and immediate action to establish a Tsunami Warning System (TWS) in the Indian Ocean. The response included the establishment of an interim Tsunami Warning System while the interim Tsunami Advisory Information is provided through the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The IOC aids and advises policy makers and managers in the reduction of risks from tsunamis, storm surges and other coastal hazards by focusing on implementing adaptation measures to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities, their infrastructure and service-providing ecosystems.

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