Natural Disasters - International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR)

Opening Address at the International Symposium of Geophysical Hazards in Developing Countries and their Environmental Impacts, August 4-9, 1991, Perugia, Italy. (Pertaining to the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR)

(by: George Pararas-Carayannis)

Natural Disaster in Oceania

(by: George Pararas-Carayannis)

Definition of Oceania
Natural Disasters in Oceania
Volcanic Eruptions
Hurricanes and Storms

Storms (Thunderstorms, Flush Floods and Landslides, Squalls, Tornados, Floods)

Other Natural Disasters ( Avalanches, Hail, Cold spells, Droughts and ForrestFires, and Sea Surges)

International Protective and Preventive Measures (Warning Systems: Earthquakes; The International Tsunami Warning System; The Hurricane Warning System)

Planning for the Reduction and Mitigation of Natural Disasters in Oceania

Disaster Prediction
Disaster Risk Analysis
Public Education and Preparedness
Post-Disaster Recovery

The Role of Teachers and Educators in the Treatment of Injuries and Psychological Effects of Disasters
Psychological and Emotional Problems of Survivors
How Teachers and Educators can Assist in Mitigating Social, Emotional and Psychological Impacts of Disasters in the Community

Conclusions and Recommendations
Bibliography and Useful References

Opening Address at the International Symposium of Geophysical Hazards in Developing Countries and their Environmental Impacts, August 4-9, 1991, Perugia, Italy. (Pertaining to the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR)

by: George Pararas-Carayannis
Vice-President, Natural Hazards Society (at that time)

Distinguished Colleagues and Fellow Scientists,

It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be part of the opening ceremonies of this important conference on natural disasters. It is also a great pleasure to see so many of you and to know that by your presence, this conference will be a success. The theme of the present meeting is on the Geophysical Hazards in Developing Countries and their Environmental Impacts. The focus has been placed in developing countries, because it is in such countries, that the socioeconomic impact of natural disasters is the greatest. Recognizing the importance of our present symposium, particularly as it relates to the International Decade on Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), many prestigious scientific organizations have come forth to cosponsor this important event.

On behalf of our Group, I wish to express our appreciation for the support and cosponsorship of this conference by so many prestigious organizations, such as the IDNDR Secretariat, UNDRO, IAPSO, IASPEI, UNESCO, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Water Resources Research and Documentation Center of this University, the Tsunami Society, and the many other organizations that are supporting this conference.

Having chaired the international organizing committee of our last conference in Ensenada, Mexico, I know quite well how much effort, time, and dedication are required to organize an international conference which can attract scientists of your prestige and caliber. Professors Mohammed El Sabh, Franco Siccardi and Abdel-Latif, Dr. T. Murty, and all the other members of the international and local organizing committees should be congratulated for their fine efforts. For those of you, particularly some of our colleagues from Europe who are attending for the first time, let me give you a little background of our activities in the last decade:

The present conference is the fourth in a series of biennial symposia on the sciences of natural and man-made hazards. The first one was arranged in 1982 by the Tsunami Society in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. The second one was organized by the Universite du Quebec and was held in Rimouski, Quebec, Canada during August 1986. The third International Conference took place at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and at the Centro de Investigacion Cientifica y de Educacion Superior de Ensenada, in Ensenada, Mexico, in August 1988.

As you know, our present conference was delayed twice. It had been scheduled for December 1990 in India, then it was rescheduled for April 1991, in Egypt. Unforeseen events in the Middle East necessitated rescheduling of the conference for August 1991, in this beautiful city of Perugia.

Our last conference in Mexico, in 1988, was significant for several reasons. In resolution 42/169 of 11 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 1990s as a Decade in which the International Community, under the auspices of the United Nations, will pay special attention to fostering international cooperation in the field of natural disaster reduction. Our conference in Mexico, in 1988, endorsed this resolution, and held a plenary session on plans and proposals for its implementation. The Conference declared a resolution of its own and after thorough discussion at that time, tasked Dr. Geoff L. Holland of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to prepare a special report on the IDNDR planning outlining the methodology on how the United Nations resolution could be reasonably implemented in the next decade. Our Group's resolution focused attention on the developing countries by stating that while all areas of the world face and experience hazards from time to time, it is the lesser-developed countries which experience losses in human lives and economy disproportionate to their resources, thus setting the theme and direction of this present conference.

Another significant development from that last conference was the organization of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards abbreviated as the International Natural Hazards Society (NHS), the convener and main sponsor of the present symposium. The main objective of this Society is to promote the science of natural hazards, the distribution of preparedness and emergency response plans to all countries, and the formulation and implementation of educational programs on hazard mitigation.

The last three years since the Mexico Conference, have seen a number of other important developments in the efforts of the international community on reducing the misery and destruction that natural hazards bring upon humanity. An intense and concerted international momentum began in disaster mitigation, worldwide. Let me summarize chronologically some of these efforts.

Following the 1987 resolution of the United Nations, many of the international scientific groups and organizations began to look actively for their role in the proposed International Decade. For example, in March of 1988, an Advisory Experts Meeting was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on UNESCO's Natural Hazards Program. The meeting included, among others, the heads of several international scientific organizations, including IASPEI, IUGG, IAVCEI, and ITSU. The purpose of the meeting was to recommend realistic and achievable actions for UNESCO in aligning with the IDNDR, and to propose these to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Many other scientific organizations formed special committees or commissions to coordinate implementation of IDNDR. In addition to the Natural Hazards Society, the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans (IAPSO) formed a Commission on Natural Marine Hazards. In May 1989, an international ad hoc Group of Experts for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, also met in Tokyo to clarify the means for implementing IDNDR. The Group's declaration transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations provided specific guidelines for the implementation of the Decade, designating it "both as a moral imperative and an opportunity for the world community, in a spirit of global cooperation, to use the considerable existing scientific and technical knowledge to alleviate human suffering and enhance economic security."

In 1990, in accordance with the earlier resolution, the Secretary General of the United Nations issued a final Resolution declaring the decade beginning with 1990 as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). As set forth by the United Nations, the International Decade has focused its attention on earthquakes, windstorms (cyclones, tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes), tsunami, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and insect infestations.

Other developments were the establishment by the United Nations of the IDNDR Secretariat in Geneva to coordinate the international activities, and the formation of national committees in many concerned countries to organize their own National Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.
Important international organizations such as UNDRO, UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNEP, only to mention a few, have taken the initiative in participating in the International Decade and in the disaster mitigation efforts. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, for example, and its subsidiary bodies formed special ad hoc working groups to develop programs for implementation of the Decade. The momentum of such efforts worldwide continues to grow, but as we meet, right now, disasters are continuing taking their toll on humanity.

Mount Pinatubo, a volcano dormant for six centuries in the Philippines, which already has caused tremendous destruction, is getting ready to blow its top. In June another deadly volcano, Mount Unzen, in Japan, devastated communities in the Nagasaki prefecture. The same volcano killed 15,000 people in an eruption 200 years ago, and is threatening to do the same now. In the last two months, storms and floods have claimed almost two thousand lives in China. In May, an earthquake in the Caucasus Mountain region of Soviet Georgia, killed hundreds of people and destroyed 80 percent of the buildings of four major towns and left 80,000 people homeless. In April, within 24 hours, three consecutive earthquakes in the north and south provinces of Peru, devastated towns that had already been hard-hit by a cholera epidemic. In February, earthquakes in China and the Himalayan mountains killed thousands of people in China, in Pakistan, and in Afghanistan. In the same month, storms and floods in southeastern Iran, destroyed 168 villages. Also, floods in Ecuador, in February, destroyed villages and thousands of acres of crops.

I can go on about disasters in the last two years. The earthquakes in Greece, in December of 1990, in Iran in November, those in the Philippines in July 1990, the earthquakes in Rumania and Bulgaria in May 1990, the earthquakes in Australia in December 1989, the ones in California, Algeria and China in October 1989. I could talk about the recent destruction caused by the cyclones and floods in Bangladesh, the drought in Ethiopia. But you are aware of these disasters and their adverse impact on our society. Floods, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, droughts have always been part of the natural cycle. In the last two decades natural disasters have killed close to 3 million people worldwide, disrupted over 820 million lives, and caused more than $1 00 billion in property damage. But man-made hazards have also taken their toll. Accelerated changes in demographic and economic trends caused by population growth, have disturbed the delicate balance between ecosystems on our planet, increasing the risk of human suffering, death and destruction. To the toll of natural hazards, we must now add the toll of man-made hazards. Pollution of the atmosphere and of the seas, destruction of our rain forests, alterations of sensitive ecosystems, destruction of the ozone layer, climatic changes we do not fully comprehend.

Losses due to natural and man-made disasters will continue to increase because of our continuing population growth and the increase of the concentration of growth in vulnerable areas such as coastal regions, flood plains, and seismically active zones. As a result, more lives will be lost, more property will be destroyed, and the social and economic fabric of disaster-prone communities will be disrupted. But this does not have to be so. The global scope of disasters requires that we coordinate our efforts for their mitigation on an international basis. Advances in the science and technology of hazard mitigation now provide the means to reduce significantly losses from natural hazards. But we have to commit ourselves to understanding these hazards better and to applying techniques that reduce our vulnerability. We need to explore the feasibility of concerted scientific and engineering efforts in reducing the loss of life and property through programs of public education and of effective early warning systems. The development of early warning systems with an adequate array of monitoring instruments for the purpose of collecting necessary data and information for disaster evaluation, is necessary for establishing relative potential risks. Public educational efforts and rapid communication networks are needed for transmitting information on potential disaster risks and for warning purposes in order to save lives and minimize damage to property.

Proper coordination of national efforts in developed and developing countries, can result in substantial results in disaster mitigation by the end of the century. International efforts should lay equal emphasis on scientific programs, engineering capabilities, and in the national and international response to humanitarian and economic needs, particularly those of the developing countries. Such activities are presently being carried out by participating countries through the creation of national committees, and by the organizations of the UN system, organizations such as UNESCO, UNDRO, UNEP, IOC, UNDP, only to mention a few.

The Decade has presented an opportunity and a challenge for such organizations to work in a unique and cooperative way with individual scientists and organizations at the national and international levels. The fact that representatives from UNESCO, UNDRO, UNEP, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and other organizations are attending our conference indicates their high degree of interest and importance attached to our work. But the Decade has created, also, a unique window of opportunity for individual scientists worldwide. It has created the framework which can facilitate the participation and input of all parties that are capable of making important contributions in mitigating the adverse effects of disasters. This unprecedented framework which has been established can serve as a model for future international scientific activities for the collective benefit of mankind. Scientific and engineering societies, and individual scientists, in a group such as ours, should share in the responsibility towards mankind and can play an important role in the mitigation of natural disasters at the national or international level.

The time has come to bring the full force of scientific and technological advances to the reduction of human tragedy and economic losses from natural and man-made disasters. We must take an integrated approach to disaster reduction, bringing new emphasis to research on disasters, on pre-disaster planning, on preparedness, and on disaster prevention, while we sustain our post-disaster relief capabilities. Our humanitarian efforts must be broadened to include disaster education and preparedness of the public as well as early warning systems in which people at risk receive, understand, and act upon the warning information conveyed.

In conclusion, at the last conference in Mexico, our Group reaffirmed the importance of the Decade and provided a plan of action for implementation. It is extremely gratifying to see that our group, in the last three years, has played such an important role in the disaster mitigation efforts of the Decade. In the next few days, many interesting papers will be presented at this very important conference, summarizing our knowledge and understanding of natural and man-made disasters. Let us use the opportunity presented by this Conference to put our collective thinking to work and to search and find ways to use this knowledge and information, and apply it towards the mitigation of human suffering caused by disasters. Also, as individual scientists and collectively, let us review our responsibilities and find ways to contribute. I am sure that the resolutions and recommendations from the present conference will contribute and help sustain the growing momentum of the International Decade on Disaster Mitigation throughout the world, in the coming years.

Thank you.

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Natural Disaster in Oceania

(by: G. Pararas-Carayannis)

Summary ( Of Chapter 2 from a book under preparation entitled "The Education for Natural Disasters Reduction Project")

Oceania, covers a very large area of the world and has the highest diversity and highest frequency of all types of natural disasters known to man. Among them, some of the most catastrophic earthquakes, hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, floods, droughts, fires, landslides, volcanic explosions, and tsunamis. The extensive number of islands, the long coastlines, and the great density of populations living in coastal areas, have made Oceania and adjacent areas very vulnerable to destructive natural disasters. Some geographical regions are more vulnerable to specific disasters than others. Historical records document that such natural disasters have struck repeatedly many of the islands and nations of Oceania, and adjacent regions, causing great loss of life and tremendous destruction to property.

Teachers, and educators concerned with natural hazards, because of their standing in the community and their interaction with children and parents, can play a very important role in disaster planning, preparedness and education. Also, teachers can play a very important role in reducing the adverse impact of disasters and assist in post-disaster recovery. They can be very effective in such efforts by educating their students on the perils of natural hazards, and by preparing them on what course of action to take when a particular disaster strikes.

With such focus on education and preparedness, natural disasters in Oceania and adjacent areas are examined and explained, from a funtamental perspective, with emphasis on the mitigation of their effects. Disaster occurrences and distribution in the many island nations and countries bordering Oceania, are presented with maps, illustrations and tables summarizing the most important recent data in a condensed form. The chapter provides teachers and educators with a general understanding of how they can proceed in educating their students on the perils of natural hazards and on how to avoid or minimize their potential adverse impacts.

Also, the chapter addresses specific planning for the mitigation of natural disasters. This a very difficult task for a geographical area the size of Oceania since the natural hazards are many and differ from region to region, often affecting directly or indirectly almost the entire population of large areas. The chapter summarizes the tremendous gains made in recent years in bringing disaster reduction awareness to the people of Oceania and adjacent areas. The International Decade on Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) is discussed, as this international program has brought into focus the need for extensive planning, in preparedness and education. Under the guidance of the IDNDR program, losses of life and property from disasters are being drastically reduced. The chapter summarizes the work of other international protective and preventive measures and efforts, such as existing disaster warning systems, already in operation.

Additionally, the chapter emphasizes planning for the mitigation of natural disasters through a good understanding, not only of the physical nature of the phenomena and their manifestations in each geographical locality, but also of each area's combined physical, social, and cultural factors. Specific instructions are provided for reducing disaster-related fatalities, injuries, and property destruction through correct planning and public education, construction, engineering, and land utilization.

Some techniques are summarized for determining disaster risks for selected areas, rural as well as metropolitan areas. The chapter illustrates how such analysis of disaster risk can be used by teachers for assessing hazard risks in areas where schools are located to plan for the safety of their students. It addresses what kind of public education and understanding on what kinds of problems and other associated hazards can be expected during and after a major disaster strikes an area. It provides specific guidelines on the preparation of educational and preparedness materials as the best way to minimize the effects of hazards and alleviate potential problems. It emphasizes the responsibility that teachers have in the community, to address social, emotional and psychological problems that may result in the post-disaster phase, particularly among their students. Then, it provides specific guidelines for teachers on how to deal with such problems . Finally, the chapter concludes that educational programs that teach disaster awareness and safety measures should be an integral part of disaster reduction and preparedness, throughout Oceania, in schools, colleges, at home, and at the place of work. It further concludes that disaster preparedness and education at the grass-root level is the best means of reducing the effects of disasters, and that responsibility rests with teachers and educators.

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Planet Earth is our home in space. It is a planet of continuous changes that started billions of years ago and that will continue for billions of years to come. Our vehicle-in-space, this-earth, is restless and in continuous motion.

Most of the great earth changes take place along the interfaces between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Two major earth cycles, the petrogenic, or rock cycle, and the hydrologic cycle are operating at the earth's surface. The processes that have taken place during the long history of our Earth, and most of the changes near its surface, come from interactions involving great amounts of matter and energy. The energy either comes from the sun or from processes occurring within the earth.

To understand the earth's changes, one has to understand something about our planet, such as its size, mass, shape, and composition. To understand its evolution, we have to understand the physical laws that govern its behavior; Fortunately, most of the earth's changes are more or less continuous and not catastrophic. Furthermore, many of the changes are repetitive or cyclical in nature.

Of greater concern to us are the changes that are comparatively rapid and affect our immediate environment and safety. We term rapid changes that occur at interphases of our planet and affect our safety and property, as natural disasters. These include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis, sea surges, floods, droughts and other phenomena which are manifestations of interactions of mass and energy on the surface of our planet. Such natural disasters are inevitable because they are beyond our control and thus cannot be prevented. However, mankind, being as adaptable as it is, has learned to live with all these hazards.

Understanding natural disasters can often help mitigate their effects, thus preserving life and property. Some of the changes that take place on our earth, like the rising and erosion of mountains, are very slow, taking millions of years. Others, like the sudden appearance of storms, are rapid by comparison. The tectonic movements responsible for earthquakes, are sudden and unpredictable changes, which are usually catastrophic, particularly if they occur in densely populated regions of our planet.Hurricanes, storms, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods and numerous other hazards are also unpredictable changes that can result in loss of life and destruction to property.
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Definition of Oceania

In this chapter we will focus only on natural disasters in the region of the world known as Oceania. Oceania is a very large region which is difficult to define geographically. It encompasses a very large area of the Pacific. The Pacific Ocean has more islands than the rest of the oceans and seas combined. On a global scale the Pacific Ocean and adjoining seas cover approximately one third of the earth's surface, or about 70 million square miles. The total area is more than all the land masses of the world combined.

Anthropologists have defined Oceania as that region of the Pacific Ocean that encompasses three distinct geographical areas - Polynesia, meaning "many islands"; Micronesia, meaning "small islands"; and Melanesia, meaning "black islands". Based on racial migrations, their definition of Oceania includes Papua-New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, but not Indonesia which has West Irian, the other half of Papua-New Guinea. By that definition, Indonesia and the Philippine islands are not included. Neither are included other countries bordering the Pacific and the Inland seas. However, among the countries of the Pacific, United States of America is considered to be part of Oceania because of its possession of the Hawaiian Islands and other islands in the Pacific. For similar reasons France, United Kingdom, Ecuador, and Chile are designated as countries of Oceania.

Such an anthropological definition falls short in permitting the description and impact of natural hazards in this large area of the world. Natural disasters do not recognize anthropological definitions of boundaries of geography. A large earthquake in Chile or Peru could generate a tsunami which can be catastrophic in the Hawaiian islands or in New Zealand. A hurricane generated off the coast of Mexico could affect other areas of Oceania. A catastrophic eruption of a volcano in Indonesia, could affect global climate. An earthquake along the Sunda Trench could generate a catastrophic tsunami that could affect Australia. For the purpose of this chapter we will include in our definition of Oceania all the islands and island nations of the Pacific, from the Hawaiian Islands southward, and all the countries and inland seas that border the Pacific Ocean, on both east and west. Thus, we will include the following countries that border the Pacific Ocean and the adjacent inland seas south of Latitude 25 North: Australia (Tasmania), Chile (Easter Island), Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France(French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis Island, Futuna), Indonesia (West Irian), Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zeakand (Tokelau), Nicaragua, Niue, Palau, Panama, Papua-New Guinea, Peoples Republic of China, Peru, Philippine Islands, Republic of China (Taiwan), Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom (Hong Kong, Pitcairn Island), USA (American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Marianas),Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Western Samoa.
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Natural Disasters in Oceania

Oceania, or the area we designate as Oceania for this chapter, is of concern to us because it covers such a large area of the world where we have the highest diversity and highest frequency of all types of natural disasters known to man: Among them some of the most catastrophic earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, fires, landslides, volcanic explosions, and tsunamis.

Because of the extensive and specialized nature of these disasters, and because of the specific scope of this book as an educational tool, we can examine in this chapter disasters only from a fundamental perspective, with emphasis on the role that teachers can play in disaster reduction. We will refer the reader to the bibliography for more extensive reading. Also, for the purpose of illustrating natural hazard occurrences and distribution in the many island nations and countries bordering our Oceania, we will present maps, illustrations and tables summarizing the most important recent data on disasters in Oceania. This chapter is specifically aimed towards teachers and educators concerned with natural hazards in their respective countries in Oceania, and adjacent areas, who wish to educate their students on the perils of such natural hazards, thus preparing them and educating them for the purpose of mitigating the effects of disasters on life and property.

As reported earlier, in Oceania we have the highest diversity and highest frequency of all types of natural disasters known to man such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, fires, landslides, volcanic explosions, tsunamis. In this section we will discuss only the major hazards that have resulted in loss of life and destruction to property.
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Earthquakes are inevitable forces of nature which mark a continuous adjustment of the thin and unstable crust of the Earth. Considering the size of the Earth and the thickness of the mantle, the Earth's crust is indeed a thin skin of rock. Underneath the oceans the crust is labeled as oceanic and has an average thickness of about 6 kilometers. The continental crust (under the continents) is lighter in weight and has a more complicated structure and variable composition because of sediments, mountains, and highly folded layers of material. Crustal material beneath the surface of the earth is also moved, dented, and broken by deformations and changes that take place.

Most of the Earth's great earthquakes occur along the boundaries of oceanic and continental crusts. The downward deflection of the oceanic crust along boundaries of great crustal plates are called subduction zones and are the regions of extremely destructive earthquakes.

Often these movements may not involve subduction of crustal material, but only lateral movements with practically none or very little vertical movement of the crust. In such instances there is no extensive destruction of the plate material, but simply a gliding of one plate in relation to another. Sometimes the rocks break and slip rapidly, from sudden releases of energy that accumulate in the rocks for many years. These sudden tectonic movements can produce large earthquakes which can be very violent and can cause enormous destruction, particularly if they occur in heavily populated areas.

Around the Pacific Ocean, there is the "Ring of Fire" which is essentially a series of continuous boundaries of oceanic and continental plates where active breaking of the earth's crust occurs causing earthquakes. Important plates interacting in the region we have defined as Oceania, are the South American Plate, the Nasca Plate, the Pacific Plate, and the Philippine Plate. There are a number of many more smaller plates in the inland seas that surround the region of Oceania. Many countries in Oceania have been affected by catastrophic earthquakes throughout recorded history. These include the countries of Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Central America, Mexico, Philippines, Guam, Republic of China, People's Republic of China, Marianas, Indonesia, Papua-New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Australia and other regions that border chains of volcanic islands in the Pacific.

Historical records document that earthquakes have struck many of the islands and nations of Oceania repeatedly, causing great loss of life and tremendous damage to property on both sides of the Pacific. In recent times, many large earthquakes have struck Mexico, Central and South America, the Phillipine Islands, Guam, the Solomon Islands, Papua-New Guinea and many other parts of the Pacific region and adjacent seas. The most noteworthy of such major earthquakesas shown in Table 1, below.

Table 1. Major Earthquakes in Countries of Oceania

(Difficulty encountered with formulation of tables and depiction of mathematical symbols in Hypertext language. The problem will be resolved in due time.)

Date Area Dead Overall Damage,

US$ Million
China, Republic

1862, 6 June Tainan, Kagi, Shako 1,000
1906, 17 March Kagi, Toroku 1,266
1935, 20 April Taihoku, Taichu 3,410


1674, 12 Feb Amboina 2,347
1815, 27 Nov Bali 10,253
1899, 30 Sept Ceram 3,864
1917, 21 Jan Bali 15,000
1976, 29 Oct West Irian 6,000

New Zealand

1855, 23 Jan Wellington
1931, 3 Feb Hawke Bay 256 25
1987, 2 March Bay of Plenty 210


1645, 5 Dec Manila 600
1863, 3 June Manila 300
1976, 17 Aug South Mindanao 3,564 120
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The tsunami is a series of ocean waves of very great length and period generated by impulsive disturbances of the earth's crust. Large earthquakes with epicenters under or near the ocean are the cause of the most catastrophic tsunami. Volcanic eruptions and submarine landslides are also responsible for tsunami generation but their effects are usuallly localized.
Although infrequent, tsunami waves are among the most terrifying and complex physical phenomena and have been responsible for great loss of life and destruction of property in Oceania.

Tsunami waves, once generated, travel in all directions at great speeds. Their speed is contolled by the depth of the water. In the deeper parts of the Ocean, the mean velocity of tsunami waves is approximately 700 km/h or 430 mph. These waves cannot be noticed out at sea because of their great wavelengths which may be 200 km or more. They can travel across great expanses of ocean with no loss of energy. When they get close to a coastline, these waves can reach gigantic proportions and can become extremely destructive. Tsunami waves can attain heights of as much as 30 m or 100 ft and may inundate extensive portions of coastlines, particularly those low in elevation.

The historical record shows tremendous destruction and extensive loss of life and property throughout the South Pacific island nations and countries bordering Oceania. The extensive coastal boundaries, the number of islands, the long coastlines of South Pacific countries, and the great density of population in coastal areas have made tsunami one of the most destructive natural disasters in Oceania and adjacent areas.

Some regions of Oceania are more vulnerable to tsunami than others. As stated previously, tsunami generation is closely related to the earthquake hazard. Thus, earthquakes outside the region, can generate tsunami waves that may travel great distances and will be a threat within the region. Within Oceania, areas with high seismicity and potential for tsunami generation, include the Tonga-Kermadek trench, the Mariannas trench, the inland seas of Indonesia, the Sunda trench, the Solomon islands area, New Zealand and others.

On the eastern boundary of Oceania, potentially tsunamigenic regions include the Peru-Chile Trench, the west coast of Colombia, and the Mid-America trench. Earthquakes from Alaska, the Aleutian islands, Kamchatka, or Japan, may generate damaging tsunamis that may be catastrophic in Oceana. Also, most of the earthquakes in inland seas of Indonesia, South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea and elsewhere have generated large destuctive tsunamis that have resulted in extensive losses of human life and property in recent times; Although locally catastrophic, the effectrs of tsunamis in inland seas are contained within the area. Very little energy finds its way to the Pacific Ocean. However, earthquakes on the open ocean along the major trenches of the Pacific can generate tsunami waves which can be catasthrophic at great distances. For example the 1960 tsunami from Chile, created havoc, not only in the immediate area, but in Japan, Hawaii, many Pacific islands and New Zealand.

Most recently, tsunami waves have struck the islands and nations of Oceania repeatedly, causing great loss of life and tremendous damage to property. Most noteworthy of the recent Pacific tsunami was that of May 1960, originating in Chile. It killed over 1,000 people in Chile, Hawaii, the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan, and caused tremendous loss of life and destruction to property.

On 16 August 1976, a large earthquake in the Moro Gulf in the Philippines generated a destructive local tsunami which killed over 8,000 persons, leaving 10,000 injured and 90,000 more homeless. On 12 December 1979, another earthquake on the Pacific side of Colombia generated a tsunami that completely destroyed several fishing villages, taking the lives of hundreds of people and creating economic chaos in an already economically depressed region of that country .

The violent explosion of the volcanic island of Krakatoa in August 1883, generated a thirty meter high tsunami wave that killed 36,500 people in Java and Sumatra. On 19 August 1977 a large earthquake in the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia generated a destructive tsunami which killed hundreds of people on Lombok and Sumbawa islands along the eastern side of the Indian Ocean. Its effects and damage extended to Australia.

These are only a few examples. Table 2, below is a partial listing of the most destructive tsunamis to strike countries and islands of Oceania and adjacent areas in recent times.

TABLE 2 (to be added)
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Volcanic Eruptions

Volcanic eruptions in Oceania are among the greatest of the natural hazards and occur with frequency every few years. Of all the volcanic eruptions in recent history, the most catastrophic have occurred in the Indonesian region. Best known are the great Krakatau eruption in August of 1883, in the Sunda Strait of Indonesia, and the 1815 eruption of Tambora in the same country. The Krakatau eruption resulted in the ejection of about 15-20 cubic km of volcanic material, and the collapse of the caldera. As reported previously, the caldera collapse resulted in a tremendous thirty meter high tsunami wave which killed 36,500 people along the neigboring coasts of Java and Sumatra.

The 1815 eruption of Tambora resulted in the discharge of almost 100 cubic Km of tephra. A catastrophic tsunami also resulted killing thousands of people. The volcanic eruption and the tsunami were responsible for the loss of 92,000 people. The depth of ash deposited by this eruption 150 km away, was in the order of half a meter.

The greatest volcanic disaster in recent geologic history, in the region, occurred in the Quaternary period of Ice Age, approximately 75,000 years ago. This volcanic explosion devastated the center of the island of Sumatra. The volume of tephra discharge from this eruption is estimated at 2,000 cubic km, a tremendous quantity considering that the Krakatau catastrophic eruption of 1883, only resulted in 15-20 cubic km of ejected tephra. The collapse crater, the caldera, formed by this giant eruption which must have lasted for several months or even years, is filled presently with the waters of lake Toba, on that island. The caldera is 100 km long.

Fortunately, events of such magnitude as the eruption of Krakatau, or Tambora are relatively rare. Their return periods are infrequent and can be estimated statistically. Volcanic eruptions of the Krakatau magnitude can be expected somewhere in the world, every 300-400 years. Eruptions of the Tambora magnitude may be expected once every 2,000 years. As for the prehistoric event that formed the caldera which is now lake Toba, judging by its tremendous size and the amount of ejected material, a return period of once every 80,000 years can be estimated.

Volcanic eruptions can result in numerous other hazards and risks. In evaluating the risks, the forms of occurrence and frequency of the eruptions must be analyzed. A compilation of such historical data is necessary. In Table 3 major historical volcanic eruptions that have affected countries and islands of Oceania, or bordering Oceania, are listed by geographical region. In addition, the quantity of the ejected tephra or lava outflow are given, where known. This listing is not complete, particularly for the minor eruptions of earlier centuries where there are no records. However, the listing is quite accurate for 20th century eruptions having an ejecta volume of more than 1 cubic km, particularly if such eruptions occurred in densely populated regions.

Table 3. Historic Volcanic Eruptions in Oceania

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Year/Date Volcano Volume of ejecta Casualties

(in Cubic km)
Central America

260 IIopango, El Salvador 20-30
1541 Volcan de Agua, Guatemala 1,300
1609 Momotombo, Nicaragua
1835 Cosiguina, Nicaragua 25
1902 Santa Maria, Guatemala 5.5 6,000
1943-52 Paracutin, Mexico 12 1,000
1963-65 Irazu, Costa Rica
1982 El Chichon, Mexico 2.5 187

South America

1660 Omate, Peru 1 1,000
1744, 30 Nov Cotopaxi, Ecuador
1768 Cotopaxi, Ecuador 1
1877 Cotopaxi, Ecuador 1,000
1949 Purace, Colombia 1,000
1985 Nevado Ruiz, Colombia 23,000

New Zealand

2800 B.C. Tarawera 10
1450 B.C. Taupo 15
130 appr. Taupo 25
1886, June Tarawera 1.5 153

Indonesia, Papua-New Guinea

540 Rabaul >10
1006 Merapi
1586 Kelud 10,000
1638 Raung 3,000
1672 Merapi 3,000
1700 Long Island >10
1711, Dec Awu 3,177
1730 Raung 3,000
1760, Sept Makjan 2,000
1772, Aug Papandayan 1 2,597
1812 Awu 953
1815, April Tambora 80-100 92,000
1817,Jan Raung 2,000
1822, Oct Galunggung >1 4,011
1856 Awu 2,806
1883, Aug Krakatau 18 36,417
1888, Mar Ritter Island 1-2 3,000
1892, June Awu 1,532
1919 Kelud 5,110
1930 Merapi 1,369
1937 Rabaul >1
1951 Mt. Lamington 2,942
1963, March Agung 3,870
1754 Nov/Dec Taal 1,200
1814, Feb Mayon 350
1897, June Mayon 1,335
1911, Jan Taal 1,335
1951 Hibokhibok 2,000
1993? Pinatubo
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Hurricanes and Storms


When winds of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean and the north-east Pacific, reach velocities of hurricane force (64 knots, 73 mph, 118Km/hr, Beauford 12), then these tropical cyclones are called hurricanes. In the Indian Ocean and in the seas around Australia, hurricanes are called "cyclones". In the West Pacific, they are called "typhoons". No matter by what name they go, such tropical cyclones can be exteremely catastrophic. If tropical cyclones do not reach hurricane force, and stay below that threshhold ( 39-73 mph, ot 63-118 km/h, Bauford 8-11), they are called tropical storms. In Table 4, below, the average statistical frequency is given for tropical cyclones in the South-west Pacific and Australian region. Table 5, is a listing of recent major hurricanes and windstorms in countries of Oceania.

Table 4. Average Frequency of Tropical Cyclones in the South-West Pacific and Australian Area (After World Map of Natural Disasters, 1988)

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Month J F M A M J J A S O N D Annual
Storms 2.7 2.8 2.4 1.3 0.3 0.2 * * * 0.1 0.4 1.5 1 0.9

Hurricanes 0.7 1.1 1.3 0.3 * * 0.1 0.1 * * 0.3 0.5 3.8

Storms and
Hurricanes 3.4 4.1 3.7 1.7 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.1 * 0.1 0.7 2.0 14.8
* Less than 0.05

Table 5. Major Hurricanes and Windstorms in Countries of Oceania

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Country Date Event, Area Dead Damage
U.S.$ Million



1974, 25 Dec Cyclone Tracy,
Port Darwin 65 1,000
1985, 18 Jan Severe Storm and
Hail, Brisbane 122

China, Republic

1911, Aug Typhoon 1,000 20
1924, Auf Typhoon 1,000
1959, Aug Typhoon Ellen 1,046 50
1969, 26 Sept Typhoons Elsie
-5 Oct and Flossi 140 875
1977, July Typhoons Thelma
and Vera 50 250


1983, Jan Winter Storms 20
1984, 22-24 Nov Winter Storm 18


1962, Nov Typhoon Karen 9 250
1976, May Typhoon Pamela 10 120

Hong Kong

1874, Sept Typhoon 6,000
1906, Sept Typhoon 10,000 20


1973, June Typhoon
Flores Sea 1,650


1882, Oct Typhoon, Luzon 10
1897, Oct Typhoon, Leyte 10,000 10
1912, Oct Typhoon, Cebu 10
1949, Nov Typhoon Rena,
Negros, Cebu 1,000
1952, Oct Typhoon Trixi,Luzon 1,000 50
1964, Nov Typhoon Louise,
Mindanao 58 600
1978, Nov Typhoon Rita, North 337 115
1984, Aug/Sept Typhoons Ike
and June, Mindanao 1,000 220


1987, 4-11 Feb Typhoon Uma, Efate 50 200


1953, Oct Typhoon, Central 2,300
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Because of their high frequency and wide distribution, storms are the most significant of the natural hazards in Oceania. Storms are seasonal in nature and include extratropical (winter) storms and monsoon storms, as well as thunderstorms. They can result in numerous other natural hazards such as flush floods and landlsides, squalls, floods, lightning, tornadoes.

Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are among the most significant natural hazards in Oceania and adjacent areas. They may occur frequently anywhere within the region. Under extreme circumstances thunderstorms involve heavy rainfall of up to 30 mm per minute, 200 mm in 15 minutes and 600 mm in 3 hours. Such heavy rainfall often may cause heavy flooding in valleys or other topographic depressions. Fortunately, heavy precipitation is usually localized.

Flush Floods and Landslides: Flush floods and landslides are often the byproduct of such thunderstorms and are common in many areas of Oceania. The strong vertical winds of thunderstorms often can generate hail and lightning. Altough lightning is characteristic of virtually every thunderstorm, hail is a less frequent phenomenon, occuring only 10-15% of the time. Both hail and lightning are natural hazards of importance, posing threat to life and property. Historically, both, lightning and hail have been significant hazards to aviation, causing serious disasters.

Thunderstorms can be a particularly significant hazard in arid areas and desserts. Because the dried hardened soil of such areas will not allow the rainwater to seep in, extensive and destructive flooding in such areas may occur.

Squalls: Gail force winds, associated with squalls represent other significant hazards of thunderstorms in Oceania. Squalls usually mark the foremost boundary of an approaching thunderstorm front. They can be visually recognized from a great distance, as they are associated with heavy rainfall. Hail or heavy rainfall which often occur at the same time, increase the potential for damage of the strong squalls.

Tornadoes: Tornadoes usually affect a very small area but develop extremely high forces on their path which can be devastating in terms of losses of life and property, if they occur in a highly populated region. They can occur more frequently over large land areas, but tornado like funnels have also been observed over ocean regions. The average diameter of the funnel of a tornado may be approximately 100 meters, and its mean length of path only a few kilometers. However tornadoes with a funnel of as much as 1,000 meter wide, and paths of 300 km long have been reported. At the edge of the funnel of a hurricane, winds of maximum velocity of more than 400km/h (250 mph) can be generated, and such winds can cause massive destruction even to substantial buildings. Whithin the funnel of a tornado there may be a reduction in atmospheric pressure of as much as 90%, which will cause glass windows and glass fronted structures to explode, adding to the damage of the hazard.

Tornadoes usually occur over land masses at latitudes ranging between 20 to 60 degrees, north or south. They are associated with local thunderstorms cells that usually occur in spring or summer. There is no accurate historical record of tornadoes in Oceania, other than in Australia, where damaging tornadoes have been reported. Fortunately, tornadoes do not occur with a great deal of frequency in Oceania

Floods: Floods are a significant natural hazard for many regions of Oceania. They are usually associated with rainstorms and hurricanes. Table 6, below illustrates very well the vulnerability of many regions of Oceania to this particular hazard.

Table 6. Some Major Floods in Islands and Countries of Oceania

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Country Date Area Dead Overall Damage
in US $ Million


1974, Jan Brisbane 5 231
1984, 5 Nov Sydney 86


1642 North(Dam Burst) 900,000
(optional) 1852 Hoang-Ho 100,000
1887 Hoang-Ho 900,000
1911 Yangtze-Kiang 100,000
1931, Jul/Aug Yangtze-Kiang 1,400,000
1938, July Hoang-Ho (Demolition
of dam by explosion) 500,000
1939, Jul/Aug North 20,000
1951, Aug Manchuria 5,000
1954, Aug Yangtze-Kiang
and Hoang-Ho 30,000
1959,Jul/Aug North 2,000,000
1986, Jul/Aug Jilin Heilongjian
Liaoning, Yunnan 260


1949, Oct East 40,000 15


1983, Jan/April North(also Ecuador) 50 700


1972, July Luzon 483 35
1976, May Luzon, Manila 215 30
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Other Natural Disasters

Besides the major disasters that have been described, there are a number of other natural disasters that have occurred in countries and islands of Oceania. These include landslides, avalanches, hail, cold spells, droughts and forrest fires, and sea surges, among others. Historical records are scanty for such disasters in Oceania. Table 7, below is a partial listing of some of the other natural hazards that have affected regions of Oceania.

Table 7. Other Natural Hazards in Oceania

(Difficulty encountered with formulation of tables and depiction of mathematical symbols in Hypertext language. The problem will be resolved in due time.)

Country Date Event, Area Dead Overall Damage in US$ Million


1967, Feb Bush Fire, Tasmania 62 40
1967-69 Drought, South-East 600
1983, 16 Feb Bush Fire, Victoria
South 75 230
1986, 3 Oct Hail, Sydney,
New South Wales 51

Hong Kong

1966 Landslide 64
1972, 18 June Landslide 80


1941 Avalanche and Mudslide, Huaraz 5,000
1962, Jan Mountain Slide, Mt. Huascaran 3,500 200
1970, 31 May Mountain Slide after Earthquake 20,000 Yungay Valley
1974, 25 April Nountain Slide,Mayunmarca 450
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International Protective and Preventive Measures

Warning Systems

For certain disasters warning systems exist which can drastically reduce the loss of life and property. This is not true for some disasters that strike without any warning, such as earthquakes. For most other disaster there may be a brief cushion of time in having some kind of warning. Thus for tsunamis, hurricanes or other weather-related hazards, there are adequate warning systems. Volcanic eruptions can usually be predicted by monitoring precursor events. The effects of volcanoes is usually localized. There are not established warning systems for other types of disasters, Scientific Institutions and Civil Defense authorities serve as the warning centers for other miscellaneous disasters in each threatened region.

Earthquake Warning: There is not an organized operational earthquake warning system presently in Oceania, or anywhere in the world for that matter. Earthquake prediction is still in the research stage. Furthermore, the only valid earthquake prediction may be the short-term prediction based on precursor events that occur in months, weeks, days, or hours before the earthquake strikes. Such methods are not sufficiently developed to be of value for warning purposes. There is a good probability of occurrence of large destructive earthquakes throughout Oceania. Primary areas for such large destructive earthquakes are the Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon islands, New Zealand. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the countries of Central and South America can expect large earthquakes in the future. There is less of a likelihood of large destructive earthquakes in the Pacific islands.

Since this discussion is based on recent incomplete research and on statistical probabilities, it is difficult to determine which of these expected earthquakes will be the greatest and which one may occur first. But if past seismic history can serve as a guide, some educated guesses can be made as to when large earthquakes can be expected in Oceania and adjacent regions, and when the next most destructive earthquakes may occur.

By studying past seismic activity, geologists can often speculate on what controls the dynamics of earthquakes and make predictions. Often one earthquake may nucleate an offset along the trace of a fault and such offsets and measurements of strain build-up can be used to forecast, not necessarily the exact time of the next earthquake event further down the fault rupture, but at least its magnitude and location.

The International Tsunami Warning System: The great destruction caused by the May 1960 Chilean tsunami prompted a large number of countries and territories to join the Pacific Tsunami Warning System (TWS). The great Alaskan earthquake of 1964 generated a devastating tsunami that affected a good part of the Pacific. This tsunami focused additional attention to the need for an International Tsunami Warning System.

In 1965, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted an offer made by the United States to expand its existing Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu to become the headquarters of an International Pacific Tsunami Warning System and at the same time accepted the offer of other IOC member countries to integrate their existing facilities and communications into this System. The existing U.S. Warning System was integrated with the Systems of Japan, USSR, Chile, and of other regional centers, and became a truly International Tsunami Warning System. Twenty-eight nations are now members of this international tsunami warning network which utilizes numerous seismic and tidal stations throughout the Pacific Ocean and provides tsuanmi watches and warnings for all of the Pacific. In recent years, the System has been very reliable.

Functioning of the System begins with the detection of an earthquake which has a magnitude and location that make it potentially tsunamigenic. If the earthquake is strong enough to cause a tsunami and is located in an area of the Pacific where this is possible, participating tide stations near the epicenter are requested to monitor their tide gauges. Watch bulletins are issued for all earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater occurring in the Aleutian Islands and all earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 or greater occurring elsewhere in the Pacific. A watch may also be disseminated by PTWC upon the issuance of warnings by a regional warning center. There are several of those in the Pacific. Since the regional systems use different criteria for their disseminations, a watch may at times be issued for earthquakes with magnitude less than 7.5.

When reports from tide stations show that a tsunami poses a threat to the population in a part or all of the Pacific, a warning is transmitted to the dissemination agencies for relay to the public. These agencies then implement plans to evacuate people from endangered areas. If the tide station reports indicate that either a negligible tsunami or no tsunami has been generated, the Tsunami Center in Hawaii issues a cancellation.

The Hurricane Warning System: Hurricane activity is very closely monitored by all the countries of Oceania and adjacent areas. Weather information is regularly transmitted over the WWVH and other weather broadcasts. Any hurricane activity is monitored and photographed continuously by satellites and transmitted to many earth stations. Most of the Pacific Ocean is covered by WWVH, which gets its information from the U.S. National Weather Service.

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service Hurricane Center in San Franscisco covers the eastern Pacific: The Weather forecasting office in Hawaii covers the central Pacific; the Joint U.S. Navy-Air Force Typhoon Warning System in Guam covers the western Pacific. The Japan Meteorological organization (JMA) in Tokyo covers also a great part of the Western and central Pacific Ocean. Hurricane information for the South Pacific Ocean is provided by Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and French Polynesia. Thus the entire Pacific is covered and warnings can be provided to any region of Oceania. Warning information of potentially hazardous approaching tropical cyclones will include information on the storm type, central pressure given in millimeters, observed wind speeds within the storm, storm location, speed and direction of movement, extent of the affected area, visibility, and state of the sea as well as any other information that may be available. . Warnings are broadcasted on prespecified radio frequencies immediately upon receipt of information and at regular intervals thereafter.. Frequencies, channels and transmission intervals vary from region to region. Usually the broadcasts intervals are every six hours, but more frequent time intervals may be provided for regions in the path of a storm or a tropical cyclone. Satellite photographs of the storm or the tropical cyclone are also available on fax machines.
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Planning for the Reduction and Mitigation of Natural Disasters in Oceania

To plan for the mitigation of natural disasters in Oceania and adjacent regions there is a need for a good understanding, not only of the physical nature of the phenomena and their manifestations in each geographical locality, but also of that area's combined physical, social, and cultural factors. No matter how remote, the likelihood of disaster occurence should be considered. Disaster-related fatalities, injuries, and property destruction can be avoided or minimized by correct planning, construction, engineering, and land utilization. Structures can be built that are disaster resistant. Many buildings and homes can be reinforced at a small cost to the individual, company, or state to withstand the effects of a disaster such as an earthquake, a hurricane or a tsunami.

It is outside the scope of this chapter to provide a detailed analysis of how the disaster risks are determined for planning, zoning, construction and evacuation purposes. Each hazard requires separate treatment. Here, it will suffice to present only an overview of the subject, with emphasis on disaster reduction and mitigation and public education and preparedness.

Disaster Prediction

It is inevitable that disasters will strike Oceania and adjacent areas over and over again. Although numerous disasters can be expected, it is the occurrence of the bigger and more destructive ones that concern everyone, and, particularly, the officials responsible for public safety. Thus, disaster prediction and assessment of the disaster risk in countries and islands of Oceania, is of paramount importance to the general public living in these disaster-prone areas, as well as to planners, engineers, scientists, architects and teachers.

In order to reduce the risk of a hazard and reduce and mitigate its effects, it is necessary to predict where and when future, large disasters may occur. Disaster prediction at the present time is far from an exact science, and forecasts of disasters have not been very accurate. Often, predictions are given in statistical terms. For example, when a prediction is made that "there is a 90 percent chance that an earthquake will occur in the next 50 years," it does not mean that this earthquake cannot happen tomorrow or that it may not be delayed by 50 years. Obviously, present predictions of earthquake disasters are not within a reasonable time frame that can be of usefulness to planners, policy makers, and those in government who deal with public safety. However, other seasonal and more frequent disasters such as storms can be forecasted more easily and warnings may be issued. Regardless of the frequency of a disaster, or the available warning time, planning for the mitigation of the effects of disasters should always be made.
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Disaster Risk Analysis

A starting point for the assessment of potential natural disasters should be an analysis of the risk. In recent years,under the guidance and leadership of IDNDR, scientists around the world have worked diligently in developing techniques for assessing disaster risks and delineating their geographical distribution.

Determining the variation of risk is a key element in planning and preparing for future disasters. For example, based on historical earthquake or hurricane activity, appropriate maps can be prepared depicting seismic or hurricane risk for each region of Oceania. For some regions, such maps already have been compiled. For example, seismic risk is usually represented by fours zones in accordance to expectancy of earthquake damage. According to this zoning, areas are designated that have no reasonable expectancy of earthquake damage; areas where minor damage can be expected; areas where moderate damage can be expected; and finally areas where destructive earthquakes can be expected. Hurricane maps may show their customary tracks, seasonal and chronological occurrences, and areas of past impact.

Similarly, maps can be prepared for other natural hazards. Statistical techniques have been used to show the specific probability of occurrence of selected hazard parameters in a specified time interval. For example, maps showing the origin of the disaster and the recurrence frequency can be determined from a historical data base.

Although mapping of the hazards is very useful for accurate assessment, engineers and planners need a more accurate analysis and mapping which takes into consideration specific local conditions. Such detailed mappings and zonings of the risk are essential to planning and disaster reduction. For example, if assessing the earthquake risk of a given region, an earthquake must be postulated of a given magnitude and location; then all geological materials in the area with similar physical properties are grouped together; then the effects of the postulated earthquake for each geologic unit are predicted by type of hazard for failure, specifically type of ground shaking, surface rupture, flooding, landsliding, and liquefaction potential; finally, all the geologic effects are combined by zones on a map as described previously. Development policies and decisions and policies on depeloping an area are taken for each zone. For example, such policies may encourage low intensity uses for sites most susceptible to a given hazard, or other similar socially and economically non-distruptive land utilization. Teachers can use the same information for assessing hazard risks in the area where schools are located and in planning for the safety of their students.

Such techniques have been used to produce detailed maps of hazards for selected areas, particularly for metropolitan areas. However, similar studies are urgently needed for many other disaster-prone metropolitan areas in countries of Oceania. It is hoped that such studies will eventually be completed and will be used by planners and engineers, thus mitigating the effects of future large disasters in critical regions of Oceania.

Finally, for planning and decision making purposes, the analysis of a disaster risk must be translated and reduced from technical and scientific terms to a simple form that can be adopted and used effectively. It must be simplified further so it can be understood by the general public.
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Public Education and Preparedness

Perhaps the most significant contribution that can be made in reducing the vulnerability of a region to natural disasters, is on education and preparedness. Public education and understanding on what kinds of problems and other associated hazards can be expected during and after a major disaster strikes an area, is the best way to minimize the effects of these hazards and alleviate potential problems. Education programs that teach disaster awareness and safety measures should be taught throughout Oceania in schools, colleges, at home, and at the place of work.

Significant efforts are being made by governmental, as well as by non-governmental organizations, volunteer groups, and individuals in Oceania and adjacent areas to bring disaster awareness, preparedness, and education to all the communities threatened by natural disasters. But such disaster awareness, education, preparedness and emergency response need to be promoted also at a grassroots level to become effective. Teachers can help accomplish this objective.

Recognizing the public concern to these natural disaster threats, governmental planners, decision makers, teachers and educators can put maximum effort in programs of preparedness that focus on disaster educational programs that involve all community agencies, citizens groups, the media, and the school systems. Disaster education curricula should be included in all the schools in the countries and islands of Oceania. Scientists should work very closely with groups and individuals in the countries of the region, assisting in a disaster awareness programs and public education.

Publications such as brochures and pamphlets can provide current information on all related natural hazards threatening each specific region and lead to greater awareness and education on what can be expected and how the direct and indirect effects of the disaster minimized.

For example, among the many misconceptions about the earthquake hazard, one of the commonest, is that only the most destructive earthquakes will kill directly. This is not true. In fact, most deaths are caused by structures falling and collapsing, such as buildings, dams, and bridges. Gas lines rupturing cause fires. Other earthquake related hazards may include landslides, or local tsunamis and such hazards may be more dangerous than the earthquake that caused them.
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Post-Disaster Recovery

If people in key positions of leadership, such as teachers, were trained and prepared, they could play important roles in post-disaster recovery and post-disaster reduction of damage. For example, teachers can play important roles in the community in assisting with the treatment of injuries at their schools or the community, or in minimizing the psychological impact and damage of the disaster upon their students. Again, the key elements are preparedness and public education. In this section we will address how teachers and educators can assist the community with physical as well as social and phychological problems.

The Role of Teachers and Educators in the Treatment of Injuries and Psychological Effects of Disasters

When a large disaster strikes a region, its direct and indirect effects are expected to produce casualties. The problem will be providing immediate care and transporting casualties to hospitals. The hospitals themselves may experience casualties among their own staff and loss of operating capacity due to the direct damage of hospital facilities. The operating capacity of hospitals may be drastically reduced in regions closest to the disaster's impact. Furthermore, physicians may be among the casualties.

There should be preparation for disaster-related medical emergencies. If the effects of the disaster are extensive, medical help may not be immediately available. If a disaster strikes, schools are often turned into temporary shelters for evacuation or first aid treatment of injuries. Students or school personel may be among the injured. Teachers should have some training in providing emergency first aid, following a disaster, if professional medical assistance is not readily or immediately available. Exercises should be held in schools to provide first aid training to school personnel or even to the students themshelves. Private hospitals in the area should be contacted and urged to participate in the coordination of medical emergencies associated with major disasters that may affect schools in a stricken region. Pre-agreed operational procedures can be implemented on medical treatment of casualties.
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Psychological and Emotional Problems of Survivors

Psychological and emotional trauma is very common following any disaster. In the wake of a major disaster, many people may develop a number of emotional problems, depending on the impact and drama of their individual experiences. Many may require psychiatric help. It would be very difficult to estimate the number of people that will develop emotional problems and who may require such help. No statistics exist presently on the subject.

There are a number of emotional problems that a major disaster can cause on survivors. Post-traumatic stress is only one of the emotional disorders that may affect people following a destructive earthquake. Some of the other disorders may include grief reactions, such as depression. Extreme depression could afflict people who experienced severe losses of loved ones, or financial losses because of the destruction of their home or business. It will take a long time for some of these people to work through such losses. Obviously teachers and educators cannot be responsible for the treatment of all the emotional and psychological problems of the community that may result from a disaster. However, they can be of great help to the children in their schools, if they can understand these problems.

Effects on Children: Most of the people impacted by the loss and destruction of a major disasters will experience psychological and emotional trauma to a varying degree. Children, in particular, in the three to ten age group, may be adversely affected by the disaster, even if not affected physically.

It is extremely difficult for children to understand what has happened to their home and family, following the impact of a major disaster. Intense feelings and emotional trauma may result directly and immediately for some children, while for others it may occur at a later time. Most children will be confused by the sudden interruption of the normality of life. Some children may become very restless and unable to sleep, others quiet and withdrawn and not willing to discuss the experience.

It is very important for parents and teachers to help the children work out their problems so that there will be no lasting emotional trauma. This can be accomplished through proper communication with the children, encouraging them to talk and listening to their fears. Adults should explain as well as they can the disaster, and should let children know that their fears are normal and are shared by all. Efforts should be made to reduce the children's anxiety by returning to as normal a routine as possible. Children should be involved in the recovery efforts and should be encouraged to participate in the clean-up activities. Parents and teachers should assure the kids that they are not going to leave them alone. It is also very reassuring for children to see progress being made in bringing the households or their schools back to order and the resuming of normal family and school routines. However, such resumption of normality may not cure the emotional trauma. If the children continue any abnormal behavior after several days, it would be very wise to seek professional assistance. Teachers should be on the lookout for such signals and inform the parents.
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How Teachers and Educators can Assist in Mitigating Social, Emotional and Psychological Impacts of Disasters in the Community

Teachers have also a responsibility to address social, emotional and psychological problems that may result in the post-disaster phase, particularly among their students. The psychological responses to the disaster devastation on both victims and support personnel in a community will depend on how well organized the programs of preparedness are prior to the disaster. Public education and general population awareness before a major disaster takes place will not only reduce the physical damage but will also mitigate the psychological impacts. It will also prevent the development of emotional illness or the complications of pre-existing emotional conditions among student populations. Children of younger age are particularly vulnerable to such social and emotional damage.

Psychiatrists, psychologists and social scientists agree that a major catastrophic disaster has several psychological and social impact stages on those affected and the community in general. They agree that it is particularly damaging to children. There are several basic psychological and social risks that threaten individual survivors and the impacted community in general. Individuals, particularly children, experience an increase of emotional fears and apprehension that the disaster will strike again and that no one will come to assist next time. There is also a loss of credibility in the established social and governmental institutions that provide assistance and relief. Everyone is trying to blame everyone. Following a major disaster, social values may degenerate and certain individuals may justify stealing or engage in other unsocial behavior. Even immediately following a disaster, social norms break down. For example, immediately following the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, shops were looted, and the dead and injured were being robbed of their jewelry and money in the streets.
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Conclusions and Recommendations

Officials in Oceania have been forewarned by scientists about the strong probability of numerous disasters occurring before the end of the millennium in the region. Some countries have prepared scenarios of destruction and emergency plans of action in anticipation of such catastrophs.

Most residents, in disaster-prone areas, live with the knowledge that disasters, at least minor ones, are a part of their lives. Their homes and places of work are mostly of unknown earthquake or other disaster resistance. As yet, insufficient thought has been given to the imminent prospect of natural disasters of devastating proportions. The responses of many people in the region are unrealistic or fatalistic. The former do not believe serious natural disasters will happen in their lifetime, while the latter feel that even if they do, nothing can be done about them. Neither avoidance nor resignation will lower the casualty list or save lives. Awareness and preparedness will.

Regardless of the expense, residents in disaster-prone areas of Oceania, should view any disaster preparedness, planning or education as their most valuable asset and investment. Preparations made in the next decade will largely decide whether people in such disaster-prone areas die or survive.

A Natural Disaster Research and Applications Information Center should be established somewhere in Oceania that could serve as a clearinghouse for hazard-related topics. This center should publish an informative newsletter and should hold or sponsor workshops on the mitigation of the effects of natural hazards. The center's staff should maintain continuous interactions throughout Oceania with scientists and officials concerned with disaster education and preparedness and should help identify educational needs for students of all ages.
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Bibliography and Useful References

American Red Cross "Family Earthquake Drill" FEMA 47, September, 1983

Blundell, D. J. "Living with Earthquakes" Disasters, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1977, p. 41-46.

Bolt, B. A., et al. Geological Hazards, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1977, 330 p.

Chinnery, M. A., and North, R. G., "The Frequency of Very Large Earthquakes"
Science, Vol. 190, 1975, p. 1197-1198.

Frazier, K. "The Violent Face of Nature" William Morrow, Inc., New York, 1979, 386 p.

Jones, Barclay G., and Tomazevic, Miha. "Social and Economic Aspects of Earthquakes: Proceedings of the Third International Conference held at Bled, Yugoslavia, June 29-July 2, 1981"
Itahaca: Cornell University Press, 1982, 654 p.

Maybury, R. H. "The Violent Forces of Nature" Lomond Publications, Inc., Mt. Airy, MD 21771, 1986, 377 p.

H. McKinley Conway "Disaster Survival" Conway Publications, Inc., 1954 Airport Road, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30341, (404) 458-6026, $48.00, 278 p.

Moir, John "Just in Case" Chronicle Books, 870 Market Street, Suite 915, San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 777-7240, $4.95, 245 p.

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Pararas-Carayannis, G. "Indonesian Earthquake and Tsunami of August 19, 1977"
Intern. Tsunami Information Center, Tsunami Newsletters, Vol. X, No. 3, September, 1977.

Pararas-Carayannis, G. "Earthquake and Tsunami of December 12, 1979, in Colombia"
Intern. Tsunami Information Center, Tsunami Newsletters, Vol. XIII, No. 1, January, 1980.

Pararas-Carayannis, G. "The Mexican Earthquakes and Tsunami of September 19 and 21, 1985". Intern. Tsunami Information Center, Tsunami Newsletters, Vol XVIII, No. 2, 1985.

Steinbrugge, K. V. "Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis: An Anatomy of Hazards"
New York: Skandia America Group, 1982, 392 p.

Sunset Magazine "Getting Ready for the Big Quake" Sunset Magazine Special Earthquake Report, Menlo Park, CA 94025, p. 104-111.

Waltham, T. "Catastrophe, The Violent Earth" New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1978, 170 p.

Walker, B. "Planet Earth" Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1981, 176 p.

Whittow, J. "Disasters, the Anatomy of Environmental Hazards" Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1979, 411 p.

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