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Indonesia has most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunami and explosive volcanic eruptions. It is also one of the most densely populated places in the world, which is a formula for epic natural disasters that have happened many times in Indonesia’s past. The 2004 Sumatran earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami claimed around 180,000 lives in Indonesia alone.


The main focus in Indonesia is tsunami disaster mitigation. The Waves Initiative combines best practices in research of tsunamis and the active faults that cause them with mitigation strategies informed by engineering and social sciences, cultural expertise and previous tsunami events. The way we bridge the existing gap between tsunami hazards research and disaster mitigation is by:

A.R.C. Project

One of the projects that In Harm's Way heads, is called A.R.C. The focus of this project is to teach communities by the ocean about tsunamis. Volunteers teach classes to communty groups and teach them the causes and signs of tsunamis. They also then discuss how to be prepared and how to react. Community leaders gather together with researchers and volunteers from In Harm's Way and together they create a map of the community that highlights vunerable areas, strong points, and escape routes to higher ground. Community members share what they have learned and planned with each other. Then evacuation drills are held to ensure everyone gets a chance to practice and know where to go in the event of a tsunami.

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Map of population density and major active faults and volcanoes in Indonesia.​

Learn more about tsunamis by studying boulder displacement and stresses form the fault line.



  • Constructing tsunami inundation maps for major coastal communities that include the extent of deposits left from previous tsunami, historical records and tsunami modeling.

  • Erecting tsunami stones that mark run-up heights of previous, but forgotten tsunami.

  • Coordinating and testing local calling trees between threatened coastal communities using existing technologies and cultural practices.

  • Planting vegetative barriers between the sea and coastal communities most at risk.

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Locally initiated evacuation drills informed by tsunami inundation maps and cultural leaders.



By going to different communities, In Harm's Way is able to teach them about when tsunamis occur and to find and practice evacuation routes out of areas that will get hit.

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