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World Tsunami Awareness Day – 5 November

Every year on November 5th, countries around the world observe World Tsunami Awareness Day. This day raises tsunami awareness and shares innovative approaches to risk reduction.

Tsunamis are rare, but when they do occur, they can be very destructive. Tsunamis are considered one of the deadliest types of natural disasters. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 claimed 227,000 lives in 14 countries. In the last 100 years, 58 tsunamis have caused more than 260,000 lives. Tsunamis are most common in the Pacific Ocean and Indonesia. However, many other countries are at a high risk of experiencing tsunamis. These countries include:

  • Chile and Peru
  • West Coast of the United States
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • India
  • Italy
  • Morocco
  • Portugal

An earthquake must occur before a tsunami. It’s the seismic activity from an earthquake that causes a series of eruptions in the ocean waters. These eruptions become giant waves. When these waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights. The highest tsunami wave ever recorded was 100 feet high. This occurred in Alaska’s Lituya Bay in 1958. Because this area is sparsely populated, only five deaths were recorded. Besides achieving great heights, waves from tsunamis also travel quickly. During the Indian Ocean tsunami, the waves traveled 500 miles per hour.

Once a person has survived the earthquake preceding the tsunami, they must also survive the tidal wave that hits, and then the flooding that follows. When a tsunami warning is issued, it’s imperative to get to high ground or as far inland as possible.


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Terrorist attacks

Paris, Bamako, violence and terror: we wonder, we worry…

Awful, terrible, inhuman – we lack words to describe the reality. France, Mali, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Libya, Yemen,  Afghanistan, Palestine… The litany could go on and on… Yes, we wonder, we worry and… and we search for answers.

The gospel does not speak of terrorism but on this Tuesday of the 34th week of the liturgical year, the message we read (Lk.21:5-11) describes situations of violence and terror and yet we are told: « Do not be frightened. »

People light candles while outside The Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, a day after the attacks on Paris. French President Francois Hollande vowed to attack Islamic State without mercy as the jihadist group admitted responsibility Saturday for orchestrating the deadliest attacks inflicted on France since World War II. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
People light candles while outside The Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, a day after the attacks on Paris. (AP Photo/    Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

We wonder, we worry and… we pray:

Lord, in our world so many things happen every day;
the news bulletins bombard us with events
such as those we hear about in today’s gospel –
wars, earthquakes, plagues and famine.
We listen to facts and statistics that impress on us
a vivid picture of what is taking place.
Somehow, we get used to this kind of news,
but sometimes we feel uneasy, upset, anxious.
We need to hear anew your message: « Do not be frightened. »
We ask you: Help us to put our trust in your words
and not to be shaken by anything that may happen. AMEN.