An examination of hazard communication logs and public response during the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis that impacted Hilo, Hawaii
Published:January 01, 2012
Jeanne B. Johnston, Deanne K. Bird, James R. Goff, Walter C. Dudley, 2012. "An examination of hazard communication logs and public response during the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis that impacted Hilo, Hawaii", Natural Hazards in the Asia–Pacific Region: Recent Advances and Emerging Concepts, J. P. Terry, J. Goff
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This paper examines communication methods used to inform the vulnerable community of Hilo, Hawaii of the impending tsunamis that struck in 1946 and 1960. These tsunamis caused tragic loss of life and enormous economic damage in Hilo and along the shores of the Hawaiian Island chain. Over 12 h notice of a possible large tsunami was given in 1960 and the siren warning system sounded more than 4 h prior to the event. The government agencies knew there was a tsunami alert and the media were broadcasting warnings. However, the 1960 tsunami took the lives of 61 people in Hilo only 14 years after 96 people were killed during the 1946 event. In order to discover why so many people perished, government agency logs recorded during the 1960 tsunami were examined and personal accounts from survivors of both the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis were analysed. Contributing to the tragic loss of life was a lack of communication between government agencies in addition to media inaccuracies and a public that was not educated in tsunami safety. Effective tsunami mitigation can only be accomplished through continual tsunami awareness education for the public, media and emergency personnel, and with accurate and timely tsunami warnings.
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Natural Hazards in the Asia–Pacific Region: Recent Advances and Emerging Concepts
Even a cursory glance at any map of the Asia–Pacific region makes a striking impression: in addition to the large continental landmass the region encompasses a truly vast expanse of ocean, dispersed over which are thousands of islands. Many might say that it could not be a worse time to live in this region. In the past few years we have experienced not only a number of devastating tsunamis (Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Japan), but should not forget either the seemingly endless list of other natural hazards such as tropical cyclones and typhoons, volcanic eruptions, river floods and wildfires, amongst numerous others. This Special Publication represents an important collection of both conceptual and first-hand field investigations across the Asia–Pacific region. By highlighting some of the recent advances and emerging ideas in natural hazards research, the volume draws together these disparate lines of evidence into a clear regional focus.