View of a high-risk area in Te Waewae Bay, New Zealand


New Zealand, India, Ecuador and Colombia enhance their tsunami readiness

With sea level rise increasing the risk posed by tsunamis and other marine hazards, countries around the globe are taking steps to protect their populations. These efforts are coordinated through UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO).

This year, New Zealand initiated the deployment of a new network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. These instruments, the most accurate to date, monitor changes in sea level and can detect a tsunami before it hits the coast. Until now, New Zealand had relied on a single, aging DART buoy.

The DART buoy network also provides tsunami monitoring and detection services for Pacific countries including Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa.

Elsewhere in the world, Venkatraipur and Noliasahi in India’s Odisha State were the first communities in the Indian Ocean region to obtain, on 7 August 2020, Tsunami Ready international recognition, the gold standard of tsunami preparedness recognition awarded by IOC-UNESCO. The check-list ranges from conducting public information campaigns to drawing up evacuation maps and installing a 24-hour early warning system.

Our community would like to thank IOC-UNESCO for this recognition, and for enhancing the sustainability of our community against tsunami hazard.
Appa Rao, Venkatraipur village’s community leader.

Ecuador and Colombia also improved their national preparedness this year. The Government of Ecuador and IOC-UNESCO held an expert meeting in Guayaquil to assess tsunami threat for the coasts of northern Ecuador and southern Colombia. This will contribute substantially to local hazard assessment and community preparedness..

The Tsunami Ready Programme is a key contribution by IOC-UNESCO to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which begins on 1 January 2021.