Purpose – Tsunamis are a rare but devastating form of natural disaster that has been documented since early civilization. Throughout history, many major tsunamis have impacted on the world's coastlines, causing heavy loss of lives and damage to properties. While the Sumatran tsunami in December 2004 demonstrated the sheer scale of destruction, there remains little understanding of the implications such obliteration have for disaster planning and management in the construction industry. The purpose of this paper is to raise the awareness of these implications and address some of the pertinent issues. Design/methodology/approach – The threat from tsunamis for an island state like Singapore cannot be ignored. A general study of tsunami dynamics is carried out and applied to model the worst scenario if tsunamis were to hit Singapore. Unique problems relating to such a scenario are subsequently highlighted to extrapolate an understanding of how the construction industry should now react even before the disaster strikes. Findings – There appear to be some potential danger and immense uncertainties to the immediate coastline of Singapore in the event of a tsunami. Faced with these uncertainties, the local construction industry needs to recognise such challenges and develop appropriate policies and strategies way ahead to account for disaster planning and management. Practical implications – While tsunami warning systems have been put in place, tsunamis cannot be stopped. The construction industry has a significant role to play in minimising destruction through appropriate building codes, materials, designs, enforcement and preventive maintenance of infrastructure. Originality/value – The paper raises the issues of disaster planning and management caused by tsunamis and prompts the construction industry into taking appropriate and timely action to ward off what can be an extremely threatening event to both lives and properties.
Structural Survey – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2006
Keywords: Tidal waves; Earthquakes; Natural disasters; Contingency planning; Construction industry; Singapore
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