Near Bengkulu, in Sumatra (see map), we visited a massive concrete construction in the process of being built. It is located in a heavily populated flat area about a kilometre from the coast. This is going to be the local safe haven for people to escape to when a tsunami threatens. It is a huge structure (see video) that towers above the surrounding sprawl of single story buildings.
It is supported by large pillars – they are circular so that the impact of surging debris will have a minimal effect on them. Also, the sides of the structure will remain open to offer minimum resistance to the flow of tsunami flood waters.
The design allows for up to 2000 people to use this facility. It will have food and water storage, cooking facilities and toilets.
In everyday use it will act as a community centre so that it does not remain of value solely during an emergency.
The stairs are very wide to avoid a bottle neck of people struggling to get up the building.
The tsunami vertical evacuation building has to survive the initial earthquake as well as the tsunami in order to be of any value. In Indonesia a number of them have been built and more are planned. Some of those planned may be used as schools, ready for emergency use at a moments notice.
see link to video of the finished shelter