“If we had better knowledge and were better prepared, we would not have lost so many lives… including my child,” says Suppachai Waharak.
Waharak’s moving story of terror and sorrow – when the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami struck his village in Phang Nga, Thailand – is representative of tens of thousands of stories of loss and destruction.
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For those who have survived a tsunami, the experience leaves an indelible mark of fear and anxiety. For others who live in proximity to an ocean, the word strikes dread. Depending on location and warning time, it is generally not possible to outrun a tsunami, but it is possible to prepare for one so you can survive the event.
The stories and experiences add impetus to the partnership between the Government of Japan and the UNDP, to save lives and help people who live in tsunami-prone zones. The project focused in Asia and the Pacific – a region that has been hit by the worst tsunamis of the century – strengthens school preparedness for tsunamis. The goal is to teach students and consequently the education ripples across the community.
“Japan has experienced and recovered from countless natural disasters. This project is vital, and it is our responsibility to share these experiences and skills around the world, to try to save as many lives as possible,”
said Ms. Satomi Okagaki, (former) Senior Deputy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Japan.
In the last 18 months, the project has conducted tsunami safe evacuation drills in more than 115 schools, reaching over 60,000 students, in 18 countries, resulting in renewed awareness and preparedness plans.
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The project journey is just in the early stages. As new students enroll in schools, with tens of thousands of schools in remote and vulnerable locations, and with many more countries at risk to tsunamis our partnership is committed to reach far and wide.
So, now the Government of Japan and UNDP are now scaling up the project, expanding it to even more countries, training more people, and empowering teachers and schools to be champions of preparedness drills.
Tsunami Awareness is moving forward, and we want you to be part of the movement as we #PrepareToWin! Come join us and be a champion of a cause that save lives.
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