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Invest at scale in coastal communities’ resilience: UN Secretary General

“As a result, we must limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and invest in coastal community resilience at scale,” Guterres added.

SNS | New Delhi |

On World Tsunami Awareness Day on Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that rising sea levels caused by the climate catastrophe will aggravate the deadly force of tsunamis.

“As a result, we must limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and invest in coastal community resilience at scale,” Guterres added.

His reference to 1.5 degrees Celsius was in reference to the ongoing COP26, the annual climate change conference, where world leaders are debating climate actions and financing in order to reduce emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

While rare, tsunamis can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on affected populations. Moreover, few coastal regions in the world are safe from tsunamis considering the multiple ways they can be triggered.

The terrible Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 claimed the lives of approximately 2,30,000 people in 14 nations. That prompted other countries to band together to prepare for this common threat by improving warnings, knowledge, and preparedness in order to safeguard vulnerable populations.

India has a long coastline, and a tsunami in 2004 wreaked havoc on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, among other places. Tsunami Risk Management Guidelines were developed by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to clarify inter-agency roles and responsibilities, tsunami risk preparedness, mitigation, and response.

Calling on countries, international bodies, and civil society to increase understanding about the threat and share innovative approaches to reduce risks, Guterres said, “We can build on the progress achieved – ranging from better outreach to tsunami-exposed communities around the world, to the inclusion of a Tsunami Programme in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. However, the risks remain immense.

Science and international cooperation – as well as preparedness and early action – must be at the heart of our efforts to save lives from tsunamis and other hazards, he said.

“Let us fight to minimise tsunami risk, deliver on the Sendai Framework, and together create resilience against all disasters,” he said, adding that increasing help to developing nations and better detection and early warning is vital.

Tsunamis are the single most lethal of all abrupt onset natural disasters, according to the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). By 2030, the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready Programme seeks to make all tsunami-prone locations tsunami-ready and resilient.

(With IANS inputs)