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Maldives shares experiences from 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami on World Tsunami Awareness Day 2016

Tsunami3 November 2016, New York; Speaking at the panel discussion held to mark the first World Tsunami Awareness Day, Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations, shared his personal recollections from when the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 hit the Maldives, in addition to sharing key lessons learnt in the post-tsunami recovery and rehabilitation.

The events held on the occasion of the first World Tsunami Awareness Day were co-organized by Maldives, Japan, Chile, Indonesia and United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

In his remarks, Ambassador Sareer highlighted that setting up emergency communications was an important lesson learnt, as communications systems were completely down for up to 10 hours or more. In the aftermath, the Maldives also set up a "tsunami management centre" which then evolved to become the "National Disaster Management Centre" which was the first of its kind in the country, focusing on disaster management, reducing risk and raising awareness. Ambassador Sareer also shared the experiences of working with regional mechanisms and organisations to set up early warning systems, as well as the efforts at national level to prepare disaster preparedness plans.

Alluding to the wider context of disasters and the impacts on Small Island Developing States, Ambassador Sareer also noted the importance of incorporating the concept of vulnerability of different economies to natural disasters and catastrophes to the discussion on development and graduation from LDC status.

The World Tsunami Awareness Day is marked on 5 November of every year, and was decided by the General Assembly in 2015. Maldives along with more than 140 countries co-sponsored the resolution.

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