In December 2015, the United National General Assembly identified 5th November, 2016 for the first ever commemoration of World Tsunami Awareness Day. In so doing, Member States, organizations of the United Nations System, international and regional organizations, Government and Non Governmental Organizations were invited to observe the day in an appropriate manner, in order to increase public awareness of the risk caused by tsunamis. Researchers have indicated that in the past 100 years, more than 260,000 people have perished in 58 separate tsunamis and at an average of 4,600 deaths per disaster, the impact on lives has surpassed that from any other natural hazard.
The date of 5th November was chosen in honour of a true story from Japan: “Inamura-no-hi”, which means the “burning of the rice sheaves”. During an 1854 earthquake, a local leader saw the tide receding, a sign of a looming tsunami. He set fire to the sheaves left over from his harvested rice to warn villagers, who fled to high ground. In the aftermath, he helped his community build back better to withstand future shocks, constructing an embankment and planting trees as a tsunami buffer.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will observe the Day with the launch on its website www.nema.kn of the recently received Tsunami Evacuation Maps for St. Kitts and Nevis. The maps will become available just after midnight Friday 4th November. Residents are encouraged to visit the site to view and download the maps, towards becoming more familiar with how a tsunami can impact the Federation etc.. Also, NEMA is arranging to present and discuss the maps, during a panel discussion on ZIZ Television, Monday 7th November, 2016, from 8:30 p.m. on the Round Table Programme.