National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Large tsunamis do not happen often, but they pose a significant threat to coastal communities around the world. Globally, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, 48 tsunamis have caused roughly $300 billion (2018 dollars) in damage.

Recognizing that the tsunami hazard poses a global threat that requires international attention and cooperation, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated November 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day. Each year, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction calls on governmental and nongovernmental organizations, as well as individuals, to observe the day by engaging in efforts to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.

For the third year in a row, World Tsunami Awareness Day will align with the International Day for Disaster Reduction and the “Sendai Seven Campaign.” This year, the two campaigns are focusing on the third target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which aims to reduce economic losses associated with disasters.

The often-reported damage estimates from a disaster do not tell the full story of economic loss. These estimates typically only report direct market costs (i.e., losses to physical assets with market value, things that can be purchased, like buildings and infrastructure). However, direct nonmarket costs and indirect costs (e.g., business interruption, loss of livelihood), which are much more difficult to estimate, are also significant components of an event’s total losses, the effects of which can last for years. Estimating economic loss is complicated and inexact, but to ease recovery, it is important to understand and address all types of potential losses before disaster strikes.

To support World Tsunami Awareness Day and help promote the global culture of tsunami awareness, the National Weather Service includes tsunamis in its annual fall safety campaign. Tsunami-related social media messages that can be adapted to incorporate World Tsunami Awareness Day are available at

Help spread the word about World Tsunami Awareness Day! On the Web, visit the World Tsunami Awareness Day website to learn more:

On social media, use hashtags #TsunamiDay and #TsunamiPrep.