New tsunami evacuation maps will help the Hispanic populations of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties learn the best routes to take in order to safely reach a designated assembly area on high ground. The brochures also offer critical safety information in Spanish to help communities understand what a tsunami is as well as preparedness tips. The brochures have been available in English for some time.
Map shows destinations in the Aberdeen and Hoquiam areas. It’s been available in English for some time, but was recently produced in Spanish.
Following a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011, the devastating four-story tall Tohoku tsunami killed thousands in Japan on March 11, 2011. At the same time, a tsunami advisory was issued for the coast of Washington, but the largest wave was only expected to reach a foot or two over normal sea level. As a precaution, however, residents in several coastal communities were asked to move to higher ground.
But there were several non-English speaking residents who chose to evacuate to nearby hospitals and other critical facilities instead of high ground or officially designated assembly areas. These spontaneous evacuations to essential facilities caused great concern for hospital staff, emergency managers and first responders. It was subsequently identified that there was a shortfall in localized tsunami preparedness materials accessible to non-English speaking populations.
Map shows destinations in the northern Pacific County. It’s been available in English for some time, but was recently produced in Spanish.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2013, people identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino within Grays Harbor County account for 9.6 percent of the total population. Within Pacific County, that figure is approximately 8.8 percent. Having recognized the evacuation issues during the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, the Washington State Tsunami Program successfully applied for funding through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program to create tsunami outreach and preparedness products accessible to non-English speaking coastal populations. The first product of this new series includes tsunami evacuation brochures in Spanish. With funding from the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, and working in close coordination with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and a specialized translation company, the Washington State Tsunami Program successfully produced the first Spanish tsunami evacuation brochures for the Washington’s Pacific Ocean coast.
Maps in both English and Spanish can be downloaded here: http://mil.wa.gov/tsunami
There are maps translated into Spanish for the communities of Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis, Ocean City, Copalis Beach, Pacific Beach, Moclips, Ocean Shores,Westport, Grayland, Bay Center, Long Beach, Ilwaco, Ocean Park, Raymond, South Bend, North Cove, Tokeland and many unincorporated areas.