Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, there is a growing awareness of the risks that tsunamis pose to coastal communities. Despite the fact that the population of some countries such as Chile and Japan were aware of such events, many other places had virtually not heard about such phenomenon before 2004. Nevertheless, the frequent reoccurrence of major tsunamis in recent years has led to a heightened state of tsunami awareness in many areas of the world, which can be described by an increased knowledge, disaster preparedness and willingness of local populations to evacuate when the threat of these events arises. However, the response of different elements of society to tsunami warnings nowadays still appears to be inadequate a times, pointing to lack of awareness by at least some individuals, an over-reliance in defence mechanisms or lacking in the transmission of knowledge from previous events. This paper will explore these cultural issues using as a basis observations made by the authors during field visits to areas afflicted by the last three major events (Chile, Indonesia, and Japan). The level of tsunami awareness prior to these events will be explored through an analysis on the existence of multiple layers of safety against tsunami developed by previous generations, and whether these had been preserved over time. The potential impact of these major tsunamis in the development of tsunami awareness will be analysed based on questionnaires that indicate the willingness of local coastal communities to invest in disaster preparedness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Safety Research