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November 5 is world ‘tsunami’ awareness day

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-Phivolcs) joins the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction in the observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day on 05 November 2016 with the theme, effective education, and evacuation drills.
The date of the celebration, November 5, is in honor of the “Inamura-no-hi”, which means the “burning of the rice sheaves”, a true story from Japan. It is said that during an 1854 earthquake, a farmer saw the tide receding, a sign of a looming tsunami. He then set fire to his harvested rice to alert villagers who fled to higher ground after the warning. As a pre-event to the Nov. 5 commemoration, DOST-Phivolcs will conduct lectures on tsunami and organize an exhibit tour for high school students on 04 November 2016 at PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City. The activity aims to promote geologic hazard awareness and preparedness among the students. Phivolcs is the country’s staunchest advocate of tsunami awareness, preparedness, and mitigation. Recently, Phivolcs commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Moro Gulf earthquake and tsunami.
The earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.1, hit the island of Mindanao on 17 August 1976 at 12:11 AM (PST), collapsed houses and buildings and left extensive damages. The tsunami that ensued affected 700 kilometers of coastline bordering Moro Gulf in the North Celebes Sea, bringing the worst destruction. The off-shore earthquake produced the massive tsunami, killing about 6,000 people, making it one of the most disastrous tsunamis to hit the Philippines.
Waves as high as nine meters struck the town of Lebak in Sultan Kudarat and inundated almost all coastal towns of provinces bordering Moro Gulf such as Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Basilan, Sulu and TawiTawi and cities of Cotabato, Pagadian and Zamboanga.
Phivolcs also encourages schools and the local government units to conduct activities such as information, education and communication campaigns, and tsunami drills that help increase the people’s awareness and preparedness on tsunami.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.