3.1.2. Tsunamis

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3 1 2 maremotosTsunamis are giant tidal waves produced either by underwater earthquakes or by collapsing sea bottom slopes

These waves can travel at a speed of 300-600 miles/hr with very little loss of energy, and can have devastating impact on coastal communities when they meet land. Successive waves reach the coast at intervals between 10 and 45 minutes, wreaking destruction for several hours. 

The health impact of tsunamis is considerable. The principal effect is death by drowning, although traumatic injuries also occur as victims are thrown against the rubble. Following rescue of survivors, the principal public health objectives should be the provision of safe water supply, shelters, and medical care for the affected communities. 

Tsunamis can have a major impact on health care infrastructure and vital systems. They cause great destruction, can result in a scarcity of food and interrupt or overload health services outside the tsunami area.