Understanding tsunamis

news: Understanding tsunamis

ST. DOMINIC’S International School held a Tsunami Day for Year 9 students recently. The Resident joined them on this educational day of understanding tsunamis, their effects and lifesaving techniques.

After an introduction by Helena Julião, of the government’s Department of Hydrographic Studies, about the tsunami that struck South East Asia last December, it was time to split into three groups and partake in the three sessions that would take place during the day.

Group 1, made up of biology teacher Colm Moore, former student Cecilia Empis who has worked in Sri Lanka, and head of humanities Mark Tweedie, had students mapping out the likely area of devastation should a tsunami hit the Portuguese coastline. Colm Moore’s enthusiasm for teaching was astounding, as was the students’ enthusiasm to learn. Each student had to find their home on a large scale map and, after careful plotting, decide whether their homes would be spared or engulfed if a huge tidal wave hit Portugal. Their eyes widened in disbelief as they realised that Lisbon could be hit again by a tsunami today, tomorrow or sometime, as it did in 1755.

Next, we joined Stephen Reid, design and technology teacher, in the school’s gardens, where students were being taught how to make shelters from old newspapers and scraps foraged from the debris.

Finally, we found Rob Giles, an ex Navy physical training instructor whose wife is serving at NATO headquarters. He was teaching students the Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) lifesaving technique. With the aid of a dummy, students quickly learnt the ABC of lifesaving after a tsunami – many people could be saved with the technique of two breaths and 15 chest pressures.

We hope these students will never need to put into practice what they have learnt. Bob Hughes