• Melissa Kartini

Tsunami 101: What to Do Before, During and After

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

While tsunamis aren't an immediate concern for Malaysians, with the number of us travelling abroad these days, it would do us well to learn a thing or two about what to do should a tsunami occur. It is a terrifying thought, but it is what it is. Which is why we should equip ourselves with such knowledge to increase our chances of survival.

There are a number of things you should do when faced with a tsunami, and all of them depend on the time.

Before a tsunami

  • When you're travelling, check whether the places you're visiting are tsunami hazard areas.

  • Bring an emergency supplies kit.

  • Familiarise yourself with evacuation routes. From the Red Cross: “If possible, pick areas 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level or go as far as 2 miles (3 kilometers) inland, away from the coastline. If you cannot get this high or far, go as high or far as you can. Every foot inland or upward may make a difference. You should be able to reach your safe location on foot within 15 minutes.” 

  • Get familiar with the evacuation information of the place you're visiting.

  • DO NOT WAIT. As soon as you are aware of a tsunami, be it by taking note of natural signs or receiving a warning from officials, RUN.

  • Natural signs of a tsunami to look out for are a sudden rise or draining of ocean waters.

During a tsunami

  • If there's an earthquake, keep these points in mind.

  • When the earthquake is over, quickly move to inland, higher ground. If possible, go on foot and stay there until the authorities say it's safe to venture out.

  • Bring your emergency supplies kit. You don't know how long you'll be without food and water.

  • Listen to the radio for updates from safety officials.

After a tsunami

  • Stay updated on information from safety officials by listening to the radio.

  • Don't assume it's safe after the first wave. Tsunamis come in multiple waves, and the next one might be bigger.

  • Call authorities if there's someone who is in need of help.

  • Water can be deeper than it appears, so avoid going into floodwater.

  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Power lines can electrically charge water. Do not touch electrical equipment when it is wet or when you are in the water.

  • Stay away from disaster zones, roads, bridges and buildings affected by the tsunami.

  • Be careful when entering buildings and cleaning up.

  • Let your friends and family know you are okay.

  • Use phone calls only for emergencies as phone systems are often down after a disaster. Stick to text messages or social media instead.

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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