2. Tsunami – The killer sea
Do you know what Tsunamis are? How they can be predicted and how you can save yourself from
the deadly Tsunami? Read the section below and you will know more about it. Follow the instructions
if you reside in any of the coastal states of the country.
The term ‗Tsunami‘ has been coined from the Japanese term Tsu meaning ‗harbour‘ and nami
meaning ‗waves‘. Tsunamis are waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or underwater
landslides and can reach 15m or more in height devastating coastal communities. In recorded history,
tsunamis worldwide have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Tsunamis caused by nearby
earthquakes may reach the coast within minutes. When the waves enter shallow water, they may rise
to several feet or, in rare cases, tens of feet, striking the coast with devastating force. The Tsunami
danger period can continue for many hours after a major earthquake. A killer Tsunami hit 11 South
Eastern Countries of Asia on
the 26th of December 2004
killing more than 1,50,000
precious lives. The count
hasn’t stopped.... At the end
of the day statistics only
remain. The emotional,
economical and ecological toll
of the disaster can’t be
calculated. Many villages
have lost an entire
generation. This was the
biggest earthquake to hit the
world in 40 years and no one
could have thought that its
effects would ripple worldwide
Tsunami wave train
Submarine fault movement, landslide, or volcanic activity
As waves approach shore they slow down, the waves lengths shorten and become higher
formation on shore 4
Important Facts About Tsunamis
? Some tsunamis can be very large. In
coastal areas their height can be as great as 10m or more (30m in extreme cases), and they can move inland
several hundred meters.
? All low-lying coastal areas can be
struck by tsunamis.
? A tsunami consists of a series of
waves. Often the first wave may
not be the largest. The danger from
subsequent tsunami waves can last
for several hours after the arrival of the first wave.
? Tsunamis can move even 50 km per
hour on coastal plain, faster than a person can run.
? Sometimes a tsunami causes the
water near the shore to recede,
exposing the ocean floor. This is
nature‘s Tsunami warning and should
? The force of some tsunamis is
enormous. Large rocks weighing
several tons along with boats and
other debris can be moved inland
several meters by tsunami wave activity. Homes Tsunamis may also be generated by very large earthquakes far away in other areas of the Ocean. Waves caused by these travel at hundreds of kilometers per hour, reaching the coast several hours after the earthquake. Unlike ordinary tides, which are short, frequent and surface level, tsunami, are barely noticeable in their deep-sea formation stage. At this point despite a wavelength up to 100 km, they are shallow in depth and move at hundreds of kilometer per hour. If a quake hits Los Angeles, a Tsunami can reach Tokyo in a time less than a Jet would take to traverse the same distance. In 1883, the violent explosion of the famous volcano, Krakatoa in Indonesia, produced tsunamis measuring 40 meters which
crashed upon Java and Sumatra. Over
36,000 people lost their lives as a result of
tsunamis that are capable of crossing
oceans. Tsunamis are nearly always created
by movement of the sea floor associated
with earthquakes which occur beneath the
sea floor or near the ocean.
Tsunami wave train formation: Seen in the figure is the rupture in the seafloor shunted in the vertical direction. This movement displaces hundreds of cubic kilometres of the overlaying water, generating a massive tsunami, or sea surge.
and other buildings are destroyed. All floating material and water move with great force
kill or injure people.
? Tsunamis can occur at any time of day or night.
? Tsunamis can travel up rivers and streams that lead to the ocean. Rupture in seafloor pushes water upwards starting the wave
Wave moves rapidly in deep ocean reaching speed of upto 500 km./h
As the wave nears land its slows to about 45 km/h but squeezed upwards, increasing in height
3 Wave heads inland
destroying all in its path
What to do BEFORE a Tsunami
? Find out if your home, school, workplace, or other frequently visited locations are in tsunami hazard prone areas.
? Know the height of your street above sea level and the distance of your street from the coast or other high-risk waters. ? Plan evacuation routes from your home, school, workplace or any other place you
could be where
tsunamis present a risk.
? Practice your evacuation routes
? Have disaster supplies on hand.
? Discuss tsunamis with your family
? Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated
another during a tsunami have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state
friend to serve as the family contact (After a disaster, it is often easier to call long
If you are at risk from tsunamis, you should:
? Avoid building or living in buildings within several hundred feet of the coastline.
? Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a tsunami. ? Elevate coastal homes. Most tsunami waves
are less than 10 feet (3 meters). Elevating your
house will help reduce damage to your property
from most tsunamis.
? Take precautions to prevent flooding.
? Have an engineer check your home and advise
about ways to make it more resistant to tsunami
? Use a local radio or television station for updated
? Follow instructions issued by local authorities.
What to do DURING a Tsunami
? If you are at home and hear there is a tsunami warning, you should make sure your entire family is aware of the warning. Your family should evacuate the house if you live in a tsunami prone area. Evacuate to a safe elevated area and move in an orderly, calm and safe manner to the evacuation site.
With the use of satellite technology it is possible to provide nearly immediate warning of potentially tsuna-migenic earthquakes. Warning time depends upon the distance of the epicenter
from the coast line. The warning includes predicted times at selected coastal communities
where the tsunami could travel in a few hours.
Coastal tidal gauges can stop tsunamis close to the shore, but they are useless in deep oceans.
Tsunami detectors, linked to land by submarine cables, are deployed 50 odd kms. out at sea.
‗Tsunameters‘ transmit warnings of buoys on the sea surface, which relay it to satellites.
Tsunamis are caused by
Design Solution to Tsunami effect
? Take your Disaster Supplies Kit. Having supplies will make you more comfortable during the evacuation.
? If you evacuate, take your animals with you.
? If you are at the beach or near the ocean and you feel the earth shake, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for Tsunami warning to be announced. Stay away from rivers and streams that lead to the oceans.
? High multi-storey, reinforced concrete buildings (like hotels etc.) are located in many low-lying coastal areas. The upper floors of these buildings can provide a safe place.
? Offshore reefs and shallow areas may help break the forces of tsunami waves, but large and dangerous waves can still be a threat to coastal residents in these areas. Staying
away from low-lying coastal areas is the safest advice when there is a tsunami warning. ? Update yourself on emergency information or warning announced on radio and television from time
If you are on a boat or ship
? Since tsunami wave activity is imperceptible in the open ocean, do not return to port if you are at sea
and a tsunami warning has been issued for your area. Tsunami can cause rapid changes in water
level and unpredictable dangerous currents in harbors and ports.
? If there is time to move your boat or ship from port to deep water (after you know a tsunami warning
has been issued), you should weigh the following considerations:
? Most large harbors and ports are under the control of a harbor/port authority. These authorities
direct operations during periods of increased readiness. Keep in contact with the authorities
should a forced movement of vessels is directed.
? Smaller ports may not be under the control of a port authority. If you are aware there is a tsunami
warning and you have time to move your vessel to deep water, then you may do so in an orderly
manner. Owners of small boats may find it safest to leave their boat at the pier and physically
move to higher grounds.
Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can affect harbors for a period of time following the
initial tsunami impact on the coast. Contact the harbor authority before returning to port. What to do AFTER a Tsunami
After a tsunami, you should:
? Continue using a radio or television for updated emergency information. The tsunami may have
damaged roads, bridges, or other places that may be unsafe.
? Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary before helping injured or trapped persons.
If someone needs to be rescued, call professionals with the right equipment to help. Many people
might get killed or injured while trying to rescue others in flooded areas. ? Help people who require special assistance-infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
? Avoid disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other
emergency operations and put you at further risk from the residual effects Eyewitness…
I saw the water
disappearing and the
water went back so far
away and everyone
wondered what it was – a
full moon or what? Then
we saw the waves come,
and we ran,‖ said Katri
Seppanen a tourist from
of floods, such as contaminated water, crumbled roads, landslides, mudflows, and other hazards.
? Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster
situations. They need to be cleared for emergency calls to get through. ? Stay out of a building if water remains around it. Tsunami water, like floodwater, can undermine
foundations, causing buildings to sink, floors to crack, or walls to collapse. ? When re-entering buildings or homes, be very careful ! Tsunami-driven floodwater may have damaged
buildings where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take. ? Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a
disaster is cut feet.
? Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Battery powered lighting is
the safest and easiest to use and it does not present a fire hazard for the user, occupants, or
building. DO NOT USE CANDLES.
? Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger
? Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Cracks and damage to a foundation can render a
? Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, or
submerged furnaces or electrical appliances. Flammable or explosive materials may have come
from upstream. Fire is the most frequent hazard following floods.
? Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get
everyone outside quickly. Turn off the gas using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas
company from a neighbor‘s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on
by a professional.
? Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell
burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step
in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical
equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service. ? Check for damage to sewage and water lines. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using
the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid
using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting
ice cubes that were made before the tsunami hit. Turn off the main water valve before draining water
from these sources. Use tap water only if local health officials advise it is safe.
? Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into buildings with the
water. Use a stick to poke through debris. Tsunami floodwater flushes snakes and animals out of
? Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.
? Open the windows and doors to help dry the building.
? Shovel mud before it solidifies.
The above brief on Tsunami teach us clearly that we can no longer afford to ignore the forces
of nature and it should serve as a wake up call to us to rebalance our relationship with our
Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them. 12
Reference for further reading:
? http://ioc.unesco.org/itsu/ IOC/UNESCO International Coordination group for the Tsunami Warning
System in the Pacific (ICG/ITSU), Paris, France.
? http://quake.usgs.gov//tsunami/ Tsunamis and Earthquakes, USGS, USA. ? www.asc-india.org Amateur Seismic Centre is a comprehensive website carrying details of state
wise seismicity for the country. This also has extensive reports on various past Earthquakes/
? http://www.prh.noaa.gov/pr/itic/ International Tsunami Information Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
? http://www.tsunami.org/ Pacifc Tsunami Museum site. Includes answers to frequently asked
questions, links, and information related to Pacific Ocean tsunamis. 1. Name three causes of Tsunami and explain its impact.
2. Explain two different ways of detecting Tsunami.
3. State two preparedness measures each in pre, during and post tsunami scenario. 13
3. Survival Skills
The Orissa super cyclone of 1999 offers several lessons in disaster management. When the cyclone
struck, western Orissa was already in the grip of a drought. It hit the landfall point near Paradip coast
on October 29 with a wind velocity of 270 to 300 km per hour. That cyclone and the one that preceded
it on October 17-18 together affected over 19 million people, including 3.5 million children. They affected
128 blocks in 14 districts. Search and Rescue measures were carried out on a massive scale. To cater
to the requirement of huge human resource, volunteers were roped in from various walks of life. NCC
and Civil Defence played a vital role in burning carcasses, distribution of relief and
carrying our search
and rescue operations.
Looking at the need for large-scale volunteers in an emergency situation, this chapter
aims at understanding
the survival skills for various natural and man made hazards. It also discusses various
Rescue skills and First Aid measures that can be carried out by "you" and "me" which
would save many
precious lives. Mankind has been coping with disasters since time immemorial. This
chapter also gives
an in-sight into the indigenous ways to cope up with disasters. Search and Rescue being carried out by Village
Volunteers in Gujarat
Search and Rescue Skills
Whenever and where ever disasters strike the first
responder for search and rescue always begins at the
local levels: individual and neighborhood. It is a daunting task for the locals to rescue the victims due to lack of skilled human resources. Disasters or emergencies disrupt normal life. We cannot stop hazards from happening but preparedness can make all the difference between life
and death. People habitating in highly vulnerable pockets cope up with frequent disasters on the basis of their
acumen, accumulated knowledge, accumulated skills and
resources of the community and they have managed to
survive the fury of the nature through centuries.
In a post disaster scenario Search and Rescue has
always played a major role in disaster management. It
is on the strength, capability and effectiveness of the search and rescue team that more of human lives could
Victims being evacuated by the Air Force
in the Tsunami hit area in Tamil Nadu
Defining Search and Rescue
Search and rescue is a technical activity rendered by an individual or a group of
personnel, who rescue and attend to the casualties under adverse conditions, where life
is at threat.
Search and rescue is organized in close cooperation with the community and in a team
search and rescue activities are undertaken in two manners: ? Community as Local Rescuers: With adequate safety measures, rescue activities are taken up
immediately by the community after any disaster.
? Outside Community Resources: Circumstances where the situation is grave and the local rescuers
do not have required skills and equipments then specialist assistance from outside the
The main Objectives of a Search and Rescue Team are to:
? Rescue the survivors trapped under the debris, from the damaged buildings or from a cyclonic storm
? Provide First Aid services to the trapped survivors and to dispatch them for medical care.
? Take immediate necessary actions, as for temporary support and protection to endangered collapsed
buildings to structures.
? Hand-over, recover and dispose-off the bodies of the deceased.
? Train, demonstrate and raise awareness on how to use the local materials for rescuing
the community people.
1.1 Team Composition
Honest, emotionally sound, professionally decisive, volunteers male and female, having good physical
condition, with demonstrated capacity and willingness to work in an emergency, could constitute a
Volunteers, of both sex, above the age of 18 years with a minimum education level (reading and writing
the local language) can be a part of the search and rescue team.
Preference would be given to ex-military or army personnels.
Maggie an 18 year old young girl from Pilloba – one among several small islands in
belongs to the fishing community and is an only daughter. On Sunday morning she was woken
up by the roar of the sea. She felt her home giving way. She quickly clutched on to a large
bamboo raft, and shoved her ailing parents onto it. She held on to it tight. ―So did several
others‖, says Maggie. She did scream at everyone to hold as tight as she was doing.
was the only way to escape the fury of the giant waves. The Coast Guard commander confirms: ―The waves were well above 10 meters high. They sucked in anything in their
path.‖ He says 44 persons from Pilloba were found hanging on the rafts on the violent
when Coast Guard vessels stopped them. Maggie says ―I did what I could do for my dear
villagers. I knew I would survive this way, and if I could, the others would too.‖
1.2 What are the duties of a Rescuer?
School students being trained by Fire Services on Search and Rescue
(b) Listen: Listen to all the sources of information - from the community, Government records
and media reports.
(c) Feel: Feel convinced regarding the fact, the gravity of the dangers and our own capacity to respond.
The first job of a rescuer is to assess
the area so as to save time, which
would help in effective response. It is
very important for a rescuer to collect
information on the extent of damage,
approach to the damage area,
particulars of the damage and
understand if any further damage is
likely to occur. The local leaders or
the people residing in that particular
locality provide all this information.
Follow three key principles during the
(a) Look: See physically the incidents
and make a thorough visual
Rescue is a team effort that needs coordination and planning amongst the members for
response operation. After the assessment, the Rescue Team would be in a position to
the Rescue Operation based on the following specifications: (a) Manpower (b) Equipment (c) Method
(a) Manpower—The Rescuers can use the skilled manpower if available and also take the help of the local community if required.
(b) Equipment: Ropes, ladders, bamboos or stick, stretchers, boats etc are essential to rescue the affected victims. Sometimes these rescue materials are not available to the rescue team at the site of emergency. Therefore the rescuers use locally available resources like barrels, tinned cans, tubes etc. (c) Method: There are various other methods, which would be useful for rescuing the victims. The adequate method of rescue is to be determined depending upon the nature of the casualty, the nature of the injuries and the position in which the casualty is found.
Do you know some of the indigenous methods of rescue? When you visit different states
the hazard that they are prone to and the indigenous ways to cope up with them.
Be ‘BRAVE’ and ‘STAY CALM’ if you have to rescue people
? Infra red cameras help in
locating people under the
rubble by detecting the
body heat of the victim.
? Acoustic devices can
detect faint noises from
? Bio radars are
equipments used for the
location of marooned
victims in flood-affected