WASHINGTON, (Jan. 14, 2005)—As the world learned on Dec. 26 in southeast Asia, tsunamis can wreak devastation on coastlines around the world. The product of undersea earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, tsunamis can race across entire oceans at more than 500 miles an hour, leaving a huge wake of destruction when they hit shore. Because it is difficult for scientists to predict how large these massive waves can be, tsunamis are one of the least understood of nature’s forces and one of the most dangerous. New to DVD, the National Geographic film “Tsunami: Killer Wave” explores the origins of tsunamis and examines some of the early-warning systems and evacuation procedures that are proven to save lives.
The DVD, featuring interviews with leading scientists and tsunami survivors, is available Tuesday, Jan. 25, for the suggested retail price of $19.95. Consumers can buy the DVD at most retailers where videos are sold, order the film in DVD or VHS directly by calling 800-627-5162 or buy it online at nationalgeographic.com. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the video will go toward relief efforts for the victims of last month’s tragedy.
In the film National Geographic travels to northern California, Hawaii and Japan to revisit sites of past tsunamis and areas most vulnerable to future outbreaks. Hawaiian resident Bunji Fujimoto gathers at a 50th-anniversary memorial service for victims of the 1946 Hilo tsunami, which took his brother and other classmates and teachers who were in the Laupahoehoe schoolyard waiting for class to start. Twenty-five people died in the schoolyard that day; a total of 59 perished in the Hilo area. The tsunami left its mark on the island, and villagers were determined to be better prepared for the next big wave.
The threat of tsunamis to the Hawaiian islands prompted the U.S. government to establish the Honolulu-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in 1949, with the goal of creating an early-warning system. Equipped with satellite technology, seismic sensors and a vast network of wave monitors, the warning center today detects quakes that may cause a tsunami.
Across the ocean, National Geographic visits Japan, whose location at the edge of the Pacific and Philippine plates has left the country especially susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. In 1933 a great wave left Taro in ruins and wiped out nearly a quarter of its population. The survivors fought back and built a reinforced concrete wall 34 feet high. Crack teams of gatekeepers carry out regular drills, closing the wall’s six huge doors against the sea.
Tragedies like those that occurred in Hilo, Taro and across southeast Asia point to the need for better and expanded early-warning systems. According to Eddie Bernard, of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “One earthquake, properly placed, can affect coastlines thousands of miles away.” Undersea gauges and more technologically advanced water sensors are just a few of the tools that scientists like Bernard hope to utilize in the future to more accurately predict the location and magnitude of tsunamis.
With insight from some of the scientific community’s foremost researchers, and vivid accounts from tsunami survivors, “Tsunami: Killer Wave” depicts nature at its most extreme, profiles the efforts being made to curb its effects and illustrates the financial, physical and emotional toll it can leave on its victims.
National Geographic Home Video and DVD titles are distributed by Warner Home Video (WHV), a Time Warner Company, operating in 57 countries including the United States and Canada. WHV is one of the world’s leading suppliers of pre-recorded videocassettes and videodiscs and is a market leader in family entertainment.
Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, NGT&F augments its award-winning documentary productions (124 Emmy Awards and more than 900 other industry awards) with feature films, large-format films and long-form television drama programming. Worldwide, National Geographic’s television programming can be seen on the National Geographic Channel, PBS, home video and DVD, and through international broadcast syndication. The National Geographic Channel is received by more than 230 million households in 27 languages in 151 countries, including the United States. For more information about NGT&F, log on to nationalgeographic.com, AOL Keyword: NatGeo.
“Tsunami: Killer Wave”
Street Date: Jan. 25, 2005
Pre-Order Date: Available now
Suggested Retail Price: $19.95 SRP (DVD)
Feature Run Time: Approximately 55 minutes
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Artwork and screeners are available upon request.