Hawai'i State News

New tsunami video gives insight, answers on how to prepare, 78 years after Hilo disaster

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Residents flee from the April 1, 1946 tsunami that destroyed downtown Hilo. Photo Courtesy: Cicilio Licos, Pacific Tsunami Museum

In response to Gov. Josh Green proclaiming April as Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawai‘i, the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) partnered with organizations across the state to promote tsunami preparedness by creating a new 2024 Hawai‘i Tsunami Preparedness video

This year marks 78 years since the deadly 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake that generated tsunami waves over 50 feet high in Hilo, caused tragic loss of life and $340 million economic damage to the state.

To prepare for future tsunamis which can strike with very little warning and occur anywhere, at any time, Green’s proclamation highlighted the importance of awareness, education and action in preparing the state for potentially deadly tsunamis. 


“This video has it all in one place,” said Talmadge Magno, the administrator of the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency. “It covers how a tsunami is generated, tsunami zones, emergency communications and evacuation planning so that residents properly know where to go during the  tsunami threat.” 

Hawai‘i County Mayor Mitch Roth agreed and emailed the link to all county employees to  “highly encourage” them to watch the video to be more aware and better prepared. 

In addition, County of Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and his team distributed the video to statewide, local media, Kaua‘i’s public access station Hō‘ike Television and through County of Kaua‘i’s social media channels.


Dennis Hwang, faculty with Hawai‘i Sea Grant, said, “This video is the result of a collaborative partnership among emergency managers from across the state, as well as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, International Tsunami Information Center, and Pacific Tsunami Museum, as well as the Hawai‘i State Department of Education which produced the video. It includes the most up-to-date information available and is an important resource for the public now and into the future.” 

The experts who produced the video strongly encourage every resident of Hawai‘i, and every visitor, to watch this free resource video which could potentially save their life or the life of a family member. While the video focuses on tsunami preparedness, it includes information to help prepare for other natural hazards such as wildfires and hurricanes. 

It is available on YouTube and can be accessed through Hawai‘i Sea Grant’s YouTube Channel as well as organization websites that partnered on the production of the video. 

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."

Scott can be reached at scott.yunker@pmghawaii.com.
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