Tsunami Current Affairs - 2019

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Indonesia hit by Volcanic Tsunami

On 22nd December 2018, Indonesia was hit by a Tsunami. As the giant tsunami waves crashed into coastal towns on the islands of Sumatra and Java, at least 281 people were killed and 1,016 were injured.

About Tsunami

Tsunami refers to a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake.

Tsunamis are different from the normal sea waves. Normal waves are generated due to the wind and Tides are generated due to the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, whereas Tsunami is generated by an abrupt movement on the ocean floor due to the triggering points like Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, underwater explosions, landslides, glacier calving or meteorite impacts.

Tsunami waves have a large wavelength in the open ocean. As the Tsunami waves reach shallow water near shores they grow rapidly in size and make a landfall causing large-scale destruction.

Volcanic Tsunami of Indonesia

The Tsunami which Indonesia witnessed on 22nd December is attributed to the collapse in the west-southwest flank of the Anak Krakatau volcano. The collapse resulted in millions of tonnes of rocky debris plunging into the sea. This resulted in the displacement of large volumes of water resulting in Tsunami waves.

Anak Krakatau

Indonesia lies on the Pacific ring of fire. This makes Indonesia vulnerable to earthquakes. Indonesia also houses 127 active volcanoes and one of these volcanoes is the Anak Krakatau.

Anak Krakatau is a volcanic island formed in 1927 after the Krakatoa volcano eruption. The Anak Krakatau was erupting from June 2018. The authorities have warned that there can be an eruption again and have advised people to stay away from the coast for a while.

Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire is an area in the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent. The Ring of Fire is a direct result of the movement and collisions of lithospheric plates of the earth.

World Tsunami Awareness Day: November 5

The World Tsunami Awareness Day is observed every year across the world on 5 November 2016 to spread awareness among people across the world about Tsunami. This year it was third edition of World Tsunami Awareness Day after it was instituted in 2015.

2018 World Tsunami Awareness Day is aligned with International Day for Disaster Reduction (observed on 13 October) and “Sendai Seven Campaign”. It focused on Target “c” of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which aims at reducing direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP.

Significance of the Day

  • Spread awareness among people across the world in matters related to the dangers of tsunami.
  • Stress on importance of early warning systems in order to mitigate damage from devastating natural calamity.

Background

The World Tsunami Awareness Day was designated by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting a resolution in December 2015. The proposal was first mooted by Japan after the 3rd UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai (Japan) in March 2015.

This day coincides with the annual anniversary of the 1854 Inamura-no-hi (Fire of Inamura) event. On this day in 1854, a villager in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan through his quick action had saved countless lives after he had set fire to sheaves of rice on the top of a hill, thus warning people of the imminent danger of a tsunami. This was the first documented instance of a tsunami early warning.

Tsunami

Tsunamis are large waves that approach crashing on coasts due to seafloor movement, majorly associated with landslides or earthquakes. The word “tsunami” gets its name from the Japanese “tsu” means harbor and “nami” means wave.

Tsunami is chain of huge waves created by disturbance created underwater. These waves are normally associated with earthquakes taking place under or around the ocean. Other causes of Tsunami may be submarine landslides, coastal rock falls, volcanic eruptions or extraterrestrial collision.

Like many other natural disasters, it is difficult to predict tsunamis but it can be suggested that seismically active areas are more at risk. Tsunami waves are highly dangerous and generally look like strong walls of water. The strong waves can attack seashore for hours, thereby destructing thousands of lives.