Tsunamis

A tsunami is an ocean wave, caused by an underwater earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide or glacier rupture, rarely by the fall of a meteorite. Waves are ring-spreading from the place they woke up. On the high seas, the passage of a tsunami wave, moving at high speed (up to 900 km/h), can even stay unnoticed, as the length of the waves reaches several hundred kilometers, but their height doesn’t exceed several tens of centimeters. It’s not until the shoreline zone is reached that the wave piled up and can reach a height of several tens of meters destroying coastal towns. The most common origination place is in the Pacific Ocean basin. Tsunamis may kill or injure people and damage or destroy infrastructure when the water reaches the shore and invades the land.

Before

• If you live nearby or visit the coast regularly, be aware of the risk of tsunami in the area. Some vulnerable communities do have maps with evacuation routes. Contact the local authorities if you’re a visitor and you’re willing to take a look at these plans
• Familiarize with the signs of a potential tsunami, such as an earthquake, the loud roar of the ocean, unusual ocean behavior, such as a sudden rise, wall of water or a sudden tide showing the ocean floor
• Design and implement community’s evacuation plans and routes from home, work and school. Select shelters 30 meters or more above sea level or at least one and a half kilometers’ inland
• Create a family emergency communication plan. Plan a meeting place if you separate
• Follow local messages and weather alerts
• Consider adequate property insurance for earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and tsunamis

During

• If you’re in a tsunami and earthquake zone, protect yourself from the earthquake firstly. Get down on your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your hands. Hold on to solid furniture until the ground stops shaking. Crawl only if you can achieve better protection, but don’t go through an area with more rubbish
• Once the trembling stops and there’re natural signs or official tsunami warnings, move to a safe place immediately, as high and as far inland as possible. Follow the authorities’ announcements, but don’t wait for tsunami warnings and evacuation orders. Act by yourself
• If you’re out of the tsunami danger zone and a warning was given, stay right where you are unless officials advise otherwise
• Evacuate immediately if you were asked to do so. Emergency routes may be marked by a wave with an arrow sign, heading towards a higher points
• Once in the water, catch something floating, for example a raft, tree trunk or a door
• If you’re on a boat, head for the waves and the sea. Otherwise, go inland

After

• Follow local warnings and authorities’ announcements to be aware of the areas that should be avoided – seek out for shelters
• Avoid wading in floodwater, which may contain dangerous pollutants. Additionally, the water can be deeper than it seems
• Beware of the risk of an electric shock. Underground or broken power lines can charge water electrically. Don’t touch electrical appliances if they’re wet or stand in water
• Avoid damaged buildings, roads and bridges
• Document your property’s damage. Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance
• Use a phone only if it’s necessary. Telephone systems are often very overloaded after a breakdown. A free line can save someone’s life
• Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends

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