Available July 2023
Tsunamis are Hawaii’s most deadly natural hazard, having killed more people than earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes combined. The 1946 tsunami from the Aleutians killed 159 people across the Islands causing deaths on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and especially on the Big Island. Furthermore, our volcanic islands experience their own periodic earthquakes, which can generate local tsunamis.
Hawaii’s history of tsunamis extends far back in time with accounts from missionaries in the 1800s and indigenous Hawaiian lore predating written records. But it is the true stories of those here in Hawai‘i who survived the tsunamis of 1946, 1960, 1964, and 1975 that can teach us what the near-death tsunami experience was actually like.
This book contains true stories told to the author by some forty-five tsunami survivors and includes over seventy-five remarkable photos. You will learn what mistakes were made and what actions we need to take to stay safe. Improvements in the Tsunami Warning System are carefully explained, along with what actions to take during a tsunami warning. Learn from our cousins in American Samoa of how tsunami evacuation training at local schools saved hundreds of children’s lives. We don’t want you to be scared, we want you to be prepared. It’s not “if” but “when” the next tsunami strikes.