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Tsunami risk management in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs): some issues, challenges and ways forward
Dominey-Howes, D.; Goff, J. (2013). Tsunami risk management in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs): some issues, challenges and ways forward. Pure Appl. Geophys. 170(9-10): 1397-1413.
In: Pure and Applied Geophysics. Birkhäuser: Basel. ISSN 0033-4553, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Pacific Island countries and territories; Challenges; Opportunities

Authors  Top 
  • Dominey-Howes, D.
  • Goff, J.

    The Pacific is well known for producing tsunamis, and events such as the 2011 Tohoku-oki, Japan disaster demonstrate the vulnerability of coastal communities. We review what is known about the current state of tsunami risk management for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), identify the issues and challenges associated with affecting meaningful tsunami disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts and outline strategies and possible ways forward. Small island states are scattered across the vast Pacific region and these states have to varying degrees been affected by not only large tsunamis originating in circum-Pacific subduction zones, but also more regionally devastating events. Having outlined and described what is meant by the risk management process, the various problems associated with our current understanding of this process are examined. The poorly understood hazard related to local, regional and distant sources is investigated and the dominant focus on seismic events at the expense of other tsunami source types is noted. We reflect on the challenges of undertaking numerical modelling from generation to inundation and specifically detail the problems as they relate to PICTs. This is followed by an exploration of the challenges associated with mapping exposure and estimating vulnerability in low-lying coastal areas. The latter part of the paper is devoted to exploring what mitigation of the tsunami risk can look like and draw upon good practice cases as exemplars of the actions that can be taken from the local to regional level. Importantly, given the diversity of PICTs, no one approach will suit all places. The paper closes by making a series of recommendations to assist PICTs and the wider tsunami research community in thinking through improvements to their tsunami risk management processes and the research that can underpin these efforts.

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