Tsunami: Will we be ready for the next oneon March 26, 2009 at 2:54 pm
Published 15 January 2005 As survivors along the coasts devastated by the tsunami on 26 December 2004 start to clear the debris, the world’s attention is turning to how these communities are going to rebuild their towns and villages. When the unthinkable happens again, will they be any better prepared? ‘When you think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been lined up, there is a real chance that we simply rebuild the risky circumstances that we had before,’ warns Reid Basher of the UN’s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) in Bonn, Germany. ‘This is often the case in earthquake situations. The rebuilding reinstates the risk in the big rush to get everything going again.’
But rebuilding also gives communities an opportunity to prepare for future tsunamis, and at little extra cost. The nations that border the Pacific, which are in most danger from earthquake-triggered waves, have pioneered ways to protect themselves. ‘Tsunami defence work consists of political, social, economic, cultural and engineering matters. Not one of them can be neglected,’ says Nobuo Shuto, a tsunami engineer at Iwate Prefectural University in Iwate, Japan.