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Tsunami risk reduction: Problems with projections

How does one plan for 97 feet high tsunami?

The scale of the possible tsunami trumps all previous notions of the risks facing the town. Deadly tsunamis have been rare here; the last few waves to reach Kuroshio, including one in 1946, did little damage.

Town officials are not entirely blind to the risks of sitting on a shoreline facing one of the world’s most active seismic rupture zones. Two years ago, they built a tsunami tower for residents to flee to, but it is only about 40 feet above sea level.

And after the tsunami last year, Kuroshio decided to modify plans for a new town hall, moving it farther up into the foothills. But even the new town hall would be just 72 feet above sea level.

We’ve been preaching the value of preparedness, but these projections seem to leave little alternative than relocation of settlements, which is not realistic.

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