UCL Earth Sciences


Rachel Hunt

“Patiently waiting on the unlikely opportunity for a photo with a tsunami.”

PhD project title:

Development of a Novel Hazard Communication Model for Near-Field Tsunami Risk in Indonesia.

Rachel Hunt
Project description:

Indonesia is one of the most exposed regions in the world to tsunami hazards. Most of the population live within 100 km of the coast and less than 100 m above sea level, heightening vulnerability levels and the risk of tsunami disasters. Large tsunamigenic earthquakes occur in Indonesia on average every 230 years, with small tsunamis affecting the region every two and a half years. The most recent Indonesian tsunamis occurred on 28th September 2018 in Palu Bay on Sulawesi island and on 22nd December 2018 at the Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait, collectively killing over 4,700 people. These two events highlighted the lack of effective hazard communication and education within local Indonesian communities. A more innovative hazard communication model is therefore required, alongside increased efforts in hazard education, to develop tsunami-resilient communities. The Indonesian coastlines most at risk to local tsunami hazards need to be identified, public knowledge and perceptions of these natural hazards must also be improved. 

Consequently, this research will utilise the TUNAMI-N3 computational model to simulate informed and realistic scenarios of near-field, earthquake-generated, Indonesian tsunami hazards. Regions at highest risk will be identified through hazard map visualisation of wave arrival times, wave heights, and the likely extent of tsunami inundation. Original data on hazard communication will be collected through the distribution of questionnaires in the areas affected by the 2018 Sulawesi and Sunda Strait tsunamis. These surveys will assess how prior education and training, as well as preparedness and response measures undertaken during the recent tsunami events, influence current hazard perceptions. A novel approach to tsunami hazard communication will be developed, utilising the visualised simulation outputs in public engagement programmes. This study aims to further the awareness and understanding of tsunami hazards in Indonesia to empower communities to react to natural tsunami warning signs.