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Hawai‘i observes April as ‘Tsunami Awareness Month’

LIHU‘E — Seventy-eight years ago on April 1, 1946, Hilo experienced an unexpected tsunami after the Aleutian Islands was struck by an earthquake that resulted in the deaths of 159 Hilo residents.

Three years later, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was founded in 1949. The center currently serves as one of two regional warning centers in the United States providing tsunami notifications and warnings to over 25 countries.

In remembrance of the people who were lost in 1946, the state of Hawai‘i observes April as “Tsunami Awareness Month.”

“A tsunami can happen at any time, with little warning,” said Kaua‘i Emergency Agency (KEMA) Administrator Elton Ushio.

KEMA along with other emergency management partners from across the state are promoting public awareness and want people to be informed.

A banner with information regarding historical tsunami wave run-up heights will be on display in the Moikeha building and the Kapule building throughout April.

“As such, staying informed and taking appropriate actions are critical to your safety,” added Ushio. “Everyone should know if they’re in a tsunami evacuation zone, whether working, out and about, or at home. Review Kaua‘i’s tsunami evacuation zones and have a plan should an evacuation be necessary.”

For more information on maps of tsunami evacuation zones and preparedness information visit http;//

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education, Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Branch produced a video, which provides a brief introduction of how a tsunami is generated, different types of tsunamis, signs of a local tsunami, the tsunami warning system, and how to plan for and respond to a tsunami threat. People can view the video at

To sign up for the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS), the county’s emergency notification service, go to the county’s website, and click on “WENS.” People may also call KEMA at 808-241-1800.
Source: The Garden Island

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