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APELL and Tsunamis

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Photos, images and maps from the recent Asian Tsunami Disaster. The tsunami, resulting from an undersea earthquake close to Sumatra on 26 December 2004, killed around 155 000 people and affected millions in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka Tanzania and Thailand United Nations Environment Programme Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) APELL and Tsunamis A community-based a
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    In 1883, the violent explosion of theKrakatoa volcano in Indonesia,produced tsunamis measuring 40metres which crashed upon Java andSumatra, killing over 36 000 people. Photos, images and maps from therecent Asian Tsunami Disaster. Thetsunami, resulting from an underseaearthquake close to Sumatra on 26December 2004,killed around 155 000 people andaffected millions inBangladesh, India, Indonesia,Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia,Maldives, Myanmar, Seychelles,Somalia, South Africa, Sri LankaTanzania and Thailand   Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) United Nations Environment Programme   APELL and TsunamisA community-based approach for disaster reduction Tsunami impact area A fully aware, well informedand properly trainedpopulation is the bestguarantee of safety and of successful response to anydisaster. This is especiallytrue for tsunami hazards.Unfortunately, mostcommunities are notprepared for the hazardsthey face and often lack thereflexes to take effectiveaction when disaster strikes. If we could reach out to communitiesbefore disasters and inform them of what to do ‘just in case’, impactscould be reduced dramatically. Destruction in Banda Aceh,IndonesiaPhoto: Till Mayer, IFRC*   Tsunamis are not new or unknown. They have been responsible for millions of deaths over the centuries, and have now claimed the lives of some 155 000 people in the Asian disaster. Tsunamis are not a frequenthazard, but the destruction they cause can be colossal, including deathflooding, contamination of drinking water, fires, toxic contamination fromruptured tanks, loss of vital community infrastructure and cropdevastation. Beach at Galle, Sri LankaPhoto: Till Mayer, IFRC* Tsunami early warning systemsmust be set up as a first step tobetter preparedness. But if we areto reach the most vulnerable, wemust also start with community-based projects. Disaster preparedness at the local level should focus on teaching people how toact in a disaster and how to develop emergency plans. How well peoplereact in an emergency depends largely on how successfully such plansare communicated to them.Although nothing can be done to prevent events such as the tragedy inAsia, it is certain that community awareness combined with warningsystems could help to reduce their impacts. Tsunamis can be identifiedand monitored and, if the communities in potential risk areas areproperly prepared, people can be warned and evacuated. Proper planning can dramatically reduce loss of life and property. Phuket Strike in Thailand,before and after the tsunami This brochure shows how community preparedness can help to reducethe impact of a tsunami disaster. It gives some background informationon the phenomenon and then highlights options for making communitiesbetter prepared through a bottom-up, community-based, participatoryapproach known as APELL.APELL, standing for Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies atthe Local Level, is a process designed to create public awareness of hazards and to ensure that communities and emergency services areadequately trained, coordinated and prepared to cope with disaster. *IFRC – International Federation of RedCross and Red Crescent Society – Photostaken from IFRC website at:http://www.ifrc.org/index.asp    Background information on tsunamisBackground information on tsunamis A tsunami, the Japanese word meaning ‘harbour wave’, is actuallya series of waves caused by undersea or coastal seismic activity.Tsunamis srcinate when underwater earthquakes, landslides,volcanic activity, eruptions or similar events displace sea water on amassive scale.Offshore, tsunamis havevery long wavelengthsand low ‘amplitude’ (waveheight); they may even beimperceptible to peopleon boats or ships. In deepwater they can travelgreat distances at speeds of 500 to 1000 km/hr. However, as theyapproach the shore, they lose speed and reduce wavelength butgain greatly in height, ultimately surging over land with greatdestructive power. Is it possible to visually identify a tsunamifrom the coast? Yes and no. A tsunami does not always appear as the vertical wallof water, known as a bore, typically portrayed in drawings. Theinitial onshore signs depend on what part of the wave first reachesland: a wave crest will cause a rise in the water level; a trough willcause the water to withdraw from the coast. A rise may not besignificant enough to be noticed by the general public andobservers are much more likely to notice the withdrawal of water.This is often far greater than a tide related withdrawal and mayeven leave fish floundering on the seafloor.For communitiesthat are preparedbut not connectedto a warningsystem, thischaracteristic maybe the only chancethey have totrigger anemergency plan. Satellite picture from the coast of Sri Lanka showing the withdrawal of the Sea picture from the coast of Sri Lanka showing the withdrawal of the Sea  Communities thatare aware,educated andprepared have amuch better chance of identifying these tell-tale phenomena and of moving quickly to higher ground to save lives and avoid other destructive impacts. Where to find more information on tsunamis ã NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory:http://www.tsunamiwave.info  ã National Disaster Education Coalitionhttp://www.disastereducation.org/guide.html  ã The Western States Seismic Policy Council:http://wsspc.org/  ã Tsunami and Earthquake Links:http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov  ã FEMA: Backgrounder: Tsunamis:http://www.fema.gov  ã Tsunami, The Great Waves: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/itic/library/pubs/great_waves/tsunami_great_waves.html   ã Tsunami: Linking Insurance and Science:http://www.nerc-bas.ac.uk/tsunami-risks/index.html ã Surviving a tsunami--Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan:http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1187/   TSUNAMI SAFETY RULES Adapted from the InternationalTsunami Information Centre (ITIC) 1. All earthquakes do not cause tsunamis, butmany do. When you hear that an earthquakehas occurred, stand by for a tsunamiemergency.2. An earthquake in your area is a naturaltsunami warning. Do not stay in low-lyingcoastal areas after a strong earthquake hasbeen felt.3. A tsunami is not a single wave, but a seriesof waves. Stay out of danger areas until an‘all-clear’ is issued by a competent authority.4. Approaching tsunamis are sometimespreceded by a noticeable rise or fall of coastal water. This is nature's tsunamiwarning and should be heeded.5. A small tsunami at one point on the shorecan be extremely large a few miles away.Don't let the modest size of one make youlose respect for all.6. When a warning is issued, a tsunami exists.The tsunami of May 1960 killed 61 people inHilo, Hawaii, and they thought it was ‘justanother false alarm.’7. Like hurricanes, all tsunamis are potentiallydangerous even though they may notdamage every coastline they strike.8. Never go down to the shore to watch for atsunami. When you can see the wave youare too close to escape it. Never try to surf atsunami; tsunamis do not curl or break likesurfing waves.9. Sooner or later, tsunamis visit everycoastline. Warnings apply to you if you live inany coastal area.10.During a tsunami emergency, your localcivil defence, police, and other emergencyorganisations will try to save your life. Givethem your fullest cooperation.   Not all earthquakes generatetsunamis. Underwater earthquakeswith shallow focus (less than 70 km)along subduction zones areresponsible for most destructivetsunamis.   The Pacific Tsunami WarningSystem (PTWS) The Pacific Tsunami WarningCentre, in Hawaii, serves as theinternational warning centre for tsunamis that pose a Pacific-widethreat. The PTWS is comprised of 26Member States that are organizedas the International CoordinationGroup for the Tsunami WarningSystem in the Pacific (ICG/ITSU).The main purpose of the group is toensure that tsunami watches,warning and advisory bulletins aredisseminated to member statesthroughout the Pacific.The ICG/ITSU is a subsidiary bodyof the United Nations Educational,Scientific, and Cultural Organization,Intergovernmental OceanographicCommission (UNESCO/IOC). TheIOC also maintains the InternationalTsunami Information Centre (ITIC) toassist in the work of the ICG/ITSU,and identification of improvements tothe international tsunami warningsystem. ã UNESCO IOC-IGC/ITSU Website:(http://ioc.unesco.org/itsu/   )  APELL and tsunamiprevention and preparednessfor coastal zones Within the APELL process: The community will: ã recognize and follow tsunami warnings ã be aware and recognize tsunami eventsbased on indigenous knowledge(unusual withdrawal of the sea) ã follow established evacuation routes andgo to higher ground when an earthquakeis felt or if alerted ã know which news services areappropriate before, during and after earthquakes and tsunami events ã stay away from low-lying areas duringthe disaster  ã know if their property is in a tsunamiprone area and what preventionmeasures should be taken Rescue services would: ã be properly equipped and trained ã have local tsunami inundation mapsshowing prone areas, and vulnerabilityassessments ã monitor changes in the ocean andmeteorological and seismic warningscontinuouslys ã implement local emergency plan ã mobilize community resources ã assess immediate needs for evacuation,shelter, medical care, route diversions,etc. ã have communication channels with thepublic during crisis ã perform full-scale evacuation drills Government authorities of coastal areasprone to tsunami hazard could take stepstowards: ã the development of tsunami inundationmaps for tsunami hazard zonesthe establishment and enforcement of legislation on safe lan ã d-use in tsunami ã ssential ã lding ã evelopment inamisr a ãã s for gs I ã y ã edness procedures at the local level   hazard-prone areaslocating schools, hospitals and einfrastructure on higher groundstrengthening and enforcing buicodes in tsunami prone areasplanning, to regulate dtsunami prone areas ã the creation of economic incentivesmaking public inform ã ation on tsunhazards availabletraining emergency services and ã communities on tsunami preparednesmaking medical ã services ready fotsunami crisisimproving local preparedness byfostering links with national disaster management programmesimplementing early warning systemtsunami monitoring or integratinexisting early warning system  nternational agencies could: ã coordinate international and regionalcooperation on disaster management ã support effective early warning systemsand assessment studiesencou rage governments to adopt andenforce suitable legislation and policon disaster management, includingnational contingency planssupport the promotion of preventionand prepar  Community Preparedness for tsunamis −   APELL in practice    For tsunamis, as for other hazards, APELL means communitypreparedness achieved through community participation inemergency planning. In the APELL process, this is based ondialogue between all stakeholders, including local authorities,rescue services and community leaders.APELL in practice means: an emergency plan to which thecommunity has provided substantial input and which ordinarycitizens can understand; communities that have emergencyplans, evacuation routes and centres; hospitals prepared to dealwith evacuees and injured people; and local authorities ready andable to receive tsunami warnings and to communicate them tocommunities at risk in order to trigger immediate evacuation.Better prepared communities have a much better chance of responding effectively to tsunamis. People who are truly aware of the hazard, can use local knowledge of natural tsunami warnings,will have stronger essential infrastructure and will use land-useplanning to site schools and hospitals on higher ground. Their emergencies services will also be able to evacuate potential riskareas quickly, and tsunami-educated children cooperate duringan emergency.Achieving these ends does not require major changes nor themobilization of extraordinary resources. In the first instance,however, it requires political will. Some actions that central andlocal governments could consider are spelled out below, othersare indicated in the column on the right. Possible risk reduction measures adapted from the - United Nations Disaster Management TrainingProgramme (1997). Introduction to Hazards    ã Establish and implement tsunami early warning systems. ã Build tsunami evacuation routes and publicise their locations. Post signs directing people to higher groundaway from the coast. ã Review land use in tsunami hazard areas so that no criticalfacilities such as hospitals and police stations, high-occupancy buildings such as auditoriums or schools, or petroleum-storage tank farms are located where there is atsunami hazard. ã Establish building codes or guidelines (for example, for construction of houses on stilts to survive the waves or useof reinforced concrete structures). Buildings such as hotelscan be constructed with the first floor living area abovepotential wave height. Structural columns must resist theimpact; walls are expendable. ã Build barriers or buffers such as special breakwaters or seawalls. Potential inundation areas may be designated asparks or sports areas. ã Publish a special section in the local newspaper withemergency information on tsunamis. Localize theinformation by printing the phone numbers of localemergency service offices, the Red Cross, and hospitals.Inform the community of any local public warning systemsperiodically.    How does APELL operate?APELL 10-stepapproach   Development of a local tsunamiawareness continuitymechanism is vital for thecommunities to stay alert, it’svery easy to forget!   The APELL process is amanagement tool that helpslocal people develop theinformation and decision-making structures they needto address the hazardsfacing their community. By engaging stakeholders in a process of structured dialogue and coordination, APELL's 10-step approachleads to the development of a single, unified emergencyresponse plan for the entire community.   2- Identify and assess all hazardsand risks (multi-hazard approach)that may result in emergencysituations in the community.Propose early warning, preventionand mitigation measures 3-Have participants review their ownemergency response plans to ensurea coordinated response1- Identify the emergency responseparticipants and establish their roles,resources, and concerns APELL is extremely useful in areas where local communities arenot easily connected to national contingency planning andwarning systems. In such areas, it is essential that the localpopulation is informed about tsunamis and educated to recognizethe signs which are the forerunners of an approaching tsunami,so as to take appropriate action on their own initiative. APELL is aprocess that helps to empower local people so that they canorganize, act together and overcome barriers to successfulcommunity action. 5-Match these tasks to the resourcesof the identified participants4- Identify the required responsetasks not covered by existing plans UNEP developed the APELL programme in the 1980s, inassociation with the chemicals industry, with the intention of addressing public hazards from industrial installations. It hassince been widened to encompass ports, transport, mining, andnatural disasters .     6- Make the changes to improveexisting plans, integrate them into anoverall community plan, and gainagreement Tips for local tsunami preparedness include: ã Hazard and risk assessment − to identify hazards anddetermine coastal areas most vulnerable to tsunamis ã Tsunami inundation maps – to designate areas expected tobe damaged by flooding or waves 7- Commit the integrated communityplan to writing and obtain approvalfrom local governments ã Evacuation routes – for the community to reach higher ground or move inland easily 9- Establish procedures for periodictesting, review,   and updating of theplan8-Educate participating groups aboutthe integrated plan ã Emergency plans − to be disseminated and tested regularlywith involvement of the public ã Awareness raising campaigns – to educate the community;children should be involved UNEP The   mission of the United Nations Environment Programme  (UNEP) in the field of disaster reduction is to address theimmediate and long term human, social, health, economic andenvironmental impacts of natural and human-induced disasters,minimizing the resulting environmental emergencies that theycause. UNEP’s approach is to promote disaster management toreduce vulnerability and enhance coping-mechanisms throughcapacity building, and activities in the field of early warning andassessment, prevention and preparedness, emergency responsemechanisms, post-disaster and post-conflict assessment, andenvironmental rehabilitation. 10-Educate the community about theintegrated plan – Awareness raisingcampaigns UNEP - Division of Technology, Industry and Economics 39-43 quai André Citroën - 75739 Paris Cedex 15, FranceTel. +33 (0) 1 44 37 14 50; Fax +33 (0) 1 44 37 14 74 Brochure Bibliography:UNDP - United Nations Disaster ManagementTraining Programme (1997). Introduction to Hazards UNESCO, US Department of Commerce,NOAA (2002). Tsunami, The Great Waves UNEP Publication (1988).  APELL Handbook  OCHA (1978).  Disaster Prevention and  Mitigation, a Compendium of Current Knowledge, Volume 3, Seismological Aspects USGS, National Tsunami Hazard MitigationProgram (1999). Surviving a Tsunami –Lessons   rom Chile, Hawaii, and Japan National Disaster Education Coalition (2004). Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard  Messages   E-mail:apell@unep.fr Website:http://www.uneptie.org/apell  

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