Tsunamis, along with other natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods, have been occurring for a long time. The word y # 8220; tsunamiand # 8221;, which is Japanese for y # 8216; big wave and # 8220;, can be defined as a series of powerful and huge waves that are caused by disturbances under water. Most of the time, earthquakes that occur at the bottom of the sea have been the most common causes of tsunamis, but there are many things that could cause one to occur. As dangerous and destructive as they are, you can learn how to survive a tsunami.
Like many other natural events, you can not prevent a tsunami from happening or predict when it will impact. The best way to protect ourselves is to know what to do in case of a tsunami. But first let’s see what causes these tsunamis.
Causes of tsunamis
Over the years, people have found many reasons why tsunamis and other natural disasters occur. Some say that it is the wrath of God for our sinful ways; others say that Mother Nature is attacking us again for destroying our natural resources and so on. The list is endless.
However, what many people do not know is that for a tsunami to occur, there is a chain of events that triggers the formation of these huge destructive waves that we call tsunamis.
More than 85% of the tsunamis that have occurred over the years can be attributed to deep-sea earthquakes. But the real cause lies in the origin of the earthquake. The surface of the whole world is covered with tectonic plates that move constantly, some more than others.
The plates are held together in specific limits, and the type of limit is determined by the way in which one tectonic plate moves with respect to the other: the transformation, where the two plates slide horizontally one over the other; extending, when the two tectonic plates are moving away from each other; subduction, when they move towards each other.
Volcanic eruptions also cause tsunamis. Like the subduction zones, the eruptions also release a lot of accumulated tension. That’s why most volcanoes literally explode during an eruption. Only underwater volcanoes or those that are very close to large bodies of water can cause tsunamis.
Normally, a volcanic eruption is usually preceded by a series of small earthquakes caused by tension within the volcano. Or if the eruption is violent to the point that the volcano collapses in the adjacent sea, it will cause a large displacement of water that will be transmitted to the action of the waves that could cause a tsunami.
Violent submarine volcanic eruptions could cause tsunamis. Earthquakes and volcanic activity often go hand in hand due to the instability of the area. In addition to the high seismic activity in the area, the Ring of Fire is also famous for having the highest number of highly active volcanoes within the proximity of each. The islands of Hawaii have survived several tsunamis that were the result of volcanic eruptions.
These are the main causes of tsunamis in the world; However, a tsunami can also be caused by a large number of other natural phenomena, including landslides and extraterrestrial collisions like meteors and other similar objects that fall to the ground.
How to survive a tsunami
Surviving a tsunami is not an easy task; Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to avoid the destructive force of the tsunami waves. To survive a tsunami, you should follow the following tips.
To be prepared
Areas prone to tsunamis are usually near a coast or a large body of water, mainly an ocean. The first survival advice that can save your life is adequate preparation. One of the ways to prepare is to know if your area of residence is a tsunami access point, if so, there are some essential aspects of survival that you should pack. If you reside in an area prone to tsunamis, it is important to have a first aid kit in the proper clothing, suitable for the climate, food and water stored. The emergency kit should be lightweight to allow it to run in case of a tsunami emergency.
Your local authorities will probably have tsunami warning signs. It is important to pay attention to the tsunami warnings, since the saying is better to be safe than sorry.
Go to higher ground
Tsunami-prone areas tend to be low areas. This means that if you detect a tsunami, the best thing you can do is go to higher ground. The following activities precede a tsunami.
- Under the feet and tremors
- Water recession
- Strong roars
If you detect any of these activities, you should find a higher ground as soon as possible. A light emergency package is less cumbersome when moving. The faster you can get to higher ground, the better. Therefore, a lightweight emergency package is crucial. The ideal distance is 2 miles inland or 100 feet above sea level, which is equivalent to 3,200 M and 30 M respectively.
Stay awake a while
As mentioned above, a tsunami is a series of waves. This means that a tsunami is not formed by a single wave. A tsunami will arrive in the form of a series of waves that will hit the dry land at different time intervals. Normally, a tsunami can last up to two or three days. To make sure you are completely safe, you must stay on higher ground for two or four days just to be sure.
In recent times, tsunami detection systems have suffered greatly from vandalism, especially in developing countries. This has led to a poor detection and warning system that guarantees little protection against the onslaught of a tsunami. Therefore, it is important to be careful when making the decision to return home.
Listen to all alerts and all clear messages that are sent. Do not go back down immediately after these announcements, since in some cases people have died as a result of an inaccurate tsunami in all clear messages.
Know the area
This is essentially for tourists and visitors who like tsunami-prone destinations, such as the US coastal city of New Orleans. Before making the decision to travel to these destinations, it is important to know which areas are more prone to tsunamis. Low-level areas of the sea are more susceptible to tsunamis. Therefore, when traveling to these areas, try to stay away from the low-sea regions.
The FEMA website is an essential source of information on everything related to floods and tsunamis. Before making a tour of any coastal region, it is important to find out if you have a tsunami history. This website will have information on areas prone to tsunamis such as Chile, the western United States, Japan and the Philippines. Try to stay away from these areas, especially during wet seasons.
Move after the earthquake if there are any
Earthquakes are one of the main causes of tsunamis. As such an earthquake that lasts more than 20 minutes is the prelude to a tsunami. It is not possible to survive a tsunami if you do not survive the earthquake. So, when the earthquake falls, cover and hold on. After the earthquake stops, you should immediately start planning the evacuation of yourself and your family members. In doing so, avoid power lines, bridges and buildings due to the dangers of falling debris.
Have an evacuation plan.
A comprehensive evacuation plan must be prepared in advance. This plan will help you and your family evacuate quickly before a tsunami hits. It is important to involve local authorities and community members in the plan.
A good evacuation plan needs to have several things, the key between them.
- A series of evacuation options that will ensure that your family meets after a tsunami. This can be a common area where all family members should escape to
- Drills must be held. The purpose of the simulations is to absolve everyone with the essentials of the evacuation plan, that is, what should be done in case of a tsunami and where to escape.
- An evacuation plan must accommodate a count of all and also guarantee assistance to the disabled, sick and elderly.
- Everyone involved in the plan should be familiar with all the tsunami warning signs.
- The evacuation plan must have alternative escape routes in case the roads are destroyed by a previous earthquake.
- Consider if there are evacuation shelters and, if not, if they can be built and where.
A good evacuation and emergency plan must also incorporate the consequences of the tsunami. The consequences can be horrendous, so it is important to be prepared.
Save lives, not belongings
When a tsunami arrives, the best thing you can do is evacuate your residence immediately. Remember that the purpose of the evacuation is to save the life of you and your family. Therefore, do not bother with any possession, as this may delay your escape. The only possession you must carry is a security package and warm clothes.
When you hear a tsunami sign or warning, take your emergency kit and drive inside as fast as you can. Your family should be with you obviously. To ensure that the evacuation is carried out smoothly, especially if you have children, follow the steps below.
- When you hear the tsunami warning, be prepared to live and make sure that all members of your family are prepared to leave with you.
- Give clear and simple instructions to family members that are easy to remember. This is especially if you have children who may not understand what is happening.
- Select a common area for you and your family members to meet if you are separated in the evacuation.
- Teach all members of your family, especially children, how to listen and detect tsunami warning signs.
- If you really believe that a tsunami is coming before the evacuation alerts are sent immediately, it is better to make a mistake than to die.
- Listen to instructions and advice from local authorities on how to survive a tsunami. Your local authorities will send instructions on the radio and other media platforms, so pay attention to those instructions.
- If you live in a coastal area, make sure you and your family members are good swimmers. The two main causes of death are drowning and being crushed by falling debris. To avoid drowning make sure you know how to swim.
Sometimes it can be impossible to avoid a tsunami. If this happens and you find yourself trapped in the water, look for something that can float and cling to it. Floating objects like doors, tree trucks, fishing equipment, among others, can save your life. When the time comes for the rescue, it will be easier to detect.
How to create a post-tsunami rehabilitation plan.
A rehabilitation plan will help you and your family adjust to life after the tsunami has struck. Survival does not end with the tsunami. Chances are that the essential elements such as water, food and even electricity are hard to come by. Therefore, it is important to prepare a rehabilitation plan in advance.
This plan, you can prepare as a family or as a community. However, it is recommended that you consult local authorities about the establishment of such a plan. For the plan to be effective, you must have the following.
- Have a stash of fresh water, it can be bottled or filtered water. As a family or as a community, it is important that you have water reserves stored for emergency purposes because of the tsunami
- Using shelters and structures in good condition. As a community, the key to surviving after a tsunami is to work together.
- Having a generator or any other secondary source of electricity / energy is welcome. This can be difficult, especially because the generators are cumbersome.
- As a community, your plan should have a shelter and a food distribution mechanism for all those affected.
- The plan must also take into account gas outbursts and fires caused by broken gas pipes.
Therefore, with the advice above, you can know what to expect in the event of a tsunami and still be able to help your loved ones and others to survive and overcome any challenge that presents.