A meeting of the IOC UNESCO project on “Communicating the effects of the 1945 Makran tsunami to increase awareness and preparedness of tsunami hazards in the Makran region” was held in Muscat, Oman from 20-24 October 2013. The meeting reviewed the collection of eyewitness interviews and historical documents on the tsunami that have been obtained during missions to Oman, Pakistan, Iran and India, and formulated plans for further work. The highest priorities for the new activities are 1) interviews in the Indus Delta near Karachi in Pakistan where it appears the majority of fatalities took place and 2) follow-up interviews in Pasni, Pakistan to constrain the timing of the old port sliding into the sea and to explore whether this slide could account for the late, large “second” wave. The collection of eyewitness interviews and historical documents as well as summary material for coastal communities and policy makers will be made available on the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Center website (iotic.ioc-unesco.org) in 2014.
Funding for the project is provided by the ESCAP administered Trust Fund on Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian Countries. The Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation (DGMAN) hosted the meeting. Participants included seven tsunami researchers from the Makran countries, a researcher from the United States, six observers from the Oman Forecasting Centre at DGMAN and three representatives from the IOC UNESCO Secretariat.
The Indonesian coast, between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, after the earthquake and the tsunami of 26 December 2004. Photo by Evan Schneider © UN Photo
UNESCO supports Member States in improving capabilities for tsunami risk assessment, implementing early warning systems and enhancing preparedness of communities at risk. UNESCO works closely with national institutions and promotes inter-institutional and regional cooperation. Specialized regional centers provide tsunami information that, together with national analysis, is the basis of the warnings issued for the public. In addition, UNESCO promotes community-based approaches in the development of response plans and awareness campaigns which strongly involve education institutions and end-users.