Indigenous knowledge and the near field population response during the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami.

  • McAdoo B
  • Moore A
  • Baumwoll J
  • 23

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Abstract

The magnitude 8.1 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed 52 people when it hit the Solomon Islands on 2 April 2007. That number would have likely been considerably higher were it not for the appropriate reaction of the indigenous coastal populations and a helpful physical geography. Buffering coral reefs reflected some wave energy back to sea, reducing the power of the wave. Hills a short distance behind the coastal villages provided accessible havens. Despite this beneficial physiography, immigrant populations died at disproportionately high rates in comparably damaged areas because they did not recognize the signs of the impeding tsunami. The indigenous population of Tapurai, which lacks a steep barrier reef to reflect the incoming energy, experienced a much more powerful wave, and the population suffered heavy losses. Indigenous knowledge as an integral tool in basin wide tsunami warning systems has the potential to mitigate disasters in the near field. Community-based disaster management plans must be cognizant of educating diverse populations that have different understandings of their environment. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Community-based disaster reduction
  • Coral reef
  • Hazard
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Mitigation
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tsunami
  • Tsunami warning system
  • Vulnerability

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Authors

  • Brian McAdoo

  • Andrew Moore

  • Jennifer Baumwoll

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