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December 15, 2017

Schools hold evacuation drills for tsunami preparedness

Karachi

December 15, 2017

Commemorating the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami disaster, schools near the city’s coastline held evacuation drills in a bid to improve disaster preparedness, on Thursday.

The evacuation drill was conducted in schools in Chashma Goth and Ibrahim Hyderi to highlight the significance of tsunami preparedness in schools. Attended by students, government officials as well as civil society organisations, the drill was a part of five school-based awareness and training sessions being conducted under a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) meant for Karachi’s vulnerable coastal areas.

The UNDP’s project focuses on implementing the Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction - a global initiative to work with local governments to make communities resilient against disasters.

“Pakistan’s coastal areas are extremely vulnerable to tsunamis due to the earthquake-prone Makran subduction zone lying at just a 100km distance from the coast. Yet, 70 per cent of Pakistan’s 1,046km coastline lacks a suitable early warning system, whereas communities are largely unprepared,” said Ignacio Artaza, UNDP Country Director.

In 1945, 4,000 people perished in a tsunami along what was then a sparsely populated stretch from Gwadar to Karachi. Today, over 20 million people live in Karachi and 85,000 in Gwadar. Without preparedness and awareness, thousands of people along the coast are at risk of a tsunami.

The devastating effects of a modern day tsunami were demonstrated in 2004, when a tsunami in the eastern Indian Ocean resulted in deaths of around 230,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand and other neighbouring areas.

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