Tsunami risk areas being mapped

PHUKET: A map of the areas of the Andaman coast most likely to be hit by flooding resulting from any future tsunami will be ready in March, Pipob Wasuwanich, the Deputy Director of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), said yesterday.

Speaking at a seminar at the Royal Phuket City Hotel, K. Pipob said that the map will also indicate “escape routes” from land of a low elevation, such as beaches, to nearby areas of higher land.

K. Pipob said that the map and all data recorded would also serve as an educational tool for Thai students.

“Students [in Thailand] will study tsunamis as part of the curriculum. If we teach students to recognize the signs of an approaching tsunami, they will be able to escape it,” he said.

British schoolgirl Tilly Smith, 10, is credited with saving a number of lives on Mai Khao Beach during the December 26 tsunami.

She reportedly saw the sea receding rapidly and recalled a geography lesson on the subject from a few weeks before. Tilly warned her parents that a tsunami was approaching and everyone on the beach moved safely to a nearby hotel.

K. Pipob said that 15 scientific teams were dispatched to the six affected provinces immediately after the tsunami to map the areas.

The map, said K. Pipob, will be vital for residents and businesspeople in the risk areas. The findings of the mapping will also form the basis for future government planning in those areas, he said.

K. Pipob also said that the map and findings would also be presented to the Department of Works and Town & Country Planning (DWTCP).

He suggested that the DWTCP might use the information in surveying all new – and possibly existing – buildings in the risk zones for their ability to withstand seismic activity, including tsunami.

Phuket News

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