If a large earthquake were to occur off the coast of Pakistan and trigger a tsunami, residents of fishing villages would need to act quickly in order to escape. A tsunami caused by an earthquake in this region in November 1945 claimed hundreds of lives. Most of the fatalities occurred along tidal creeks of the Indus River Delta, where people scarcely felt the original earthquake. Today, many of the villages in the Delta can still only be reached by boat, and telecommunications are limited. These circumstances add to the challenge of alerting local people to the danger of any incoming tsunami.
This study, supported by Oxfam GB, underlines the extent of this challenge. It analyses the limitations of early warning dissemination systems in the coastal belt of Pakistan and investigates opportunities for strengthening them. It highlights the vulnerability of coastal communities in the face of natural hazards such as tsunamis and cyclones, due to their isolation, the limitations of communications infrastructure and limited awareness and preparedness of local authorities.