On World Tsunami Day, highly vulnerable Karachi schools conduct evacuation drills

Nov 7, 2017

Karachi, 07 November 2017 – Students, government officials, civil society organizations and UN agencies came together today to commemorate World Tsunami Day (officially celebrated on 5 November) by holding a tsunami school evacuation drill and cleaning the shoreline near their settlements.  Supported by a regional United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project to improve preparedness for tsunamis in 18 countries, this is part of five school-based awareness trainings and evacuations in Karachi’s vulnerable coastal areas.

“Pakistan’s coastal areas are extremely vulnerable to tsunamis due to the earthquake-prone Makran Subduction Zone just 100 km from the coast. Yet, 70 percent of Pakistan’s 1,046 km coastline lacks a suitable early warning system, and communities are largely unprepared,” said Ignacio Artaza, UNDP Country Director.

In 1945, a tsunami killed 4,000 people 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 if a tsunami hits. The devastating effects of a modern-day tsunami were demonstrated in 2004, when an a tsunami in the eastern Indian Ocean killed about 230,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand and other vulnerable areas.

Today’s evacuation drill was conducted at a school in Rehri Goth, Karachi, to highlight the significance of school tsunami preparedness and its effectiveness in saving lives from tsunami risk. This is as part of UNDP’s efforts to implement the Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction, a global initiative to work with local governments to make communities resilient against disasters. To highlight the importance of the environment in preparing for disaster,  an event was also held where participants were joined by United Nations Volunteers in “Clean MY Shore”, a symbolic cleaning of the seashore.

Contact information

Media contact:

Fatimah Inayet, Communications Analyst, +92 51 835 5650 or fatimah.inayet@undp.org

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