Developing Tsunami Evacuation Plans, Maps, And Procedures: Pilot Project in Central America

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Nicolas Paulo Arcos, NOAA National Weather Service, International Tsunami Information Center, Honolulu, HI, United States, Laura S L Kong, UNESCO IOC - NOAA, Honolulu, HI, United States, Diego Arcas, NOAA Seattle, Seattle, WA, United States, Bernardo Aliaga, UNESCO/IOC, Paris, France, David Coetzee, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, Wellington, New Zealand and Julie Leonard, US Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, San Jose, Costa Rica
In the End-to-End tsunami warning chain, once a forecast is provided and a warning alert issued, communities must know what to do and where to go. The ‘where to’ answer would be reliable and practical community-level tsunami evacuation maps. Following the Exercise Pacific Wave 2011, a questionnaire was sent to the 46 Member States of Pacific Tsunami Warning System (PTWS). The results revealed over 42 percent of Member States lacked tsunami mass coastal evacuation plans. Additionally, a significant gap in mapping was exposed as over 55 percent of Member States lacked tsunami evacuation maps, routes, signs and assembly points. Thereby, a significant portion of countries in the Pacific lack appropriate tsunami planning and mapping for their at-risk coastal communities. While a variety of tools exist to establish tsunami inundation areas, these are inconsistent while a methodology has not been developed to assist countries develop tsunami evacuation maps, plans, and procedures. The International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) and partners is leading a Pilot Project in Honduras demonstrating that globally standardized tools and methodologies can be applied by a country, with minimal tsunami warning and mitigation resources, towards the determination of tsunami inundation areas and subsequently community-owned tsunami evacuation maps and plans for at-risk communities. The Pilot involves a 1- to 2-year long process centered on a series of linked tsunami training workshops on: evacuation planning, evacuation map development, inundation modeling and map creation, tsunami warning & emergency response Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and conducting tsunami exercises (including evacuation). The Pilot’s completion is capped with a UNESCO/IOC document so that other countries can replicate the process in their tsunami-prone communities.