Mission 2009: Tsunami Threat in the Pacific

The Challenge: For Mission 2009, we will study the origins and impacts of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in order to inform a comprehensive, hypothetical plan for tsunami preparedness in two developing nations, one in the islands of the western Pacific, and one in South America.

Background:  The 26 December, 2004, tsunami in the Indian Ocean has focused worldwide attention on the necessity of tsunami preparedness.  Perhaps the single most devastating tsunami in recorded history, last year’s event claimed upwards of 250,000 lives, destroyed the homes of millions of people in twelve nations, and caused damage that has or will cost in excess of $10 billion to repair.  International relief efforts continue today, but full economic and environmental recovery of the region will take years.