Heed tsunami warning

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The following was addressed to Brad Davis, Malibu’s emergency preparedness director.

After reading an article in Honolulu Advertiser’s Sunday edition (Oct. 30), I wanted to write and thank you for your efforts to warn your community, particularly the surfing community, of the danger of tsunamis. Here in Hawaii in the last century, more than 200 people have lost their lives due to tsunamis. More people have died in tsunamis in Hawaii than all other natural disasters combined. Yet, in 1994, when the public was warned of a possible tsunami, more than 300 surfers went out into the water to surf the waves.

Tsunami mitigation preparedness and a heightened awareness are needed in order to lessen the impact of future tsunami disasters. Continuing tsunami education is the key to successful tsunami mitigation. Like you, we encounter resistance about scaring the public, particularly the visitors, about hazards. It is too late after a strong earthquake or a tsunami evacuation warning to learn what to do. A growing population and commercial environment in the inundation zone increase the need for dissemination of critical, life-saving information.

Our message is that we are creating a culture of awareness so that the population can be prepared for natural hazards.

Jeanne Branch Johnston

Earthquake and Tsunami Program Planner

State of Hawaii