Natural Hazards

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 1125–1136 | Cite as

Effects of the October 25, 2010, Mentawai tsunami in La Réunion Island (France): observations and crisis management

  • Alexandre SahalEmail author
  • Julie Morin
Original Paper


On October 25, 2010, a Mw = 7.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Kepulauan Mentawai archipelago, in Indonesia. Following the earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami bulletin to the countries of the Indian Ocean informing them that a local tsunami watch was in effect for Indonesia. La Réunion Island, a French territory located 5,000 km southwest of the seismic source, did not trigger its tsunami early warning protocol, but did suffer the impact of this tsunami 7h20 post-earthquake. This paper presents the post-tsunami survey conducted in La Réunion Island a few days after the event, providing run-up measurements that reach 1.72 m locally as well as information about the material losses and the crisis management. It provides a time sequence of the observations along the coast and the reactions of the population and authorities in dealing with this crisis. This paper also shows the local authorities’ lack of action in managing this event—thus increasing human and material vulnerabilities—the consequences for victims and the impact on the credibility of the local early warning system. These results provide geophysicists with information to better describe the source of this tsunami through far-field inversion and provide local decision makers with a comprehensive assessment of the weaknesses of the local early warning system and protocols.


Mentawai tsunami Crisis management Early warning system La Réunion Island 



The PREPARTOI program is financed by the MAIF Foundation. The authors would like to thank the MAIF Foundation, as well as all the witnesses who accepted to participate in this survey, the Préfecture of La Réunion Island and Météo-France for helping the authors to improve the PSS by providing the authors with feedback on the October 25, 2010, tsunami crisis management. Thanks to Paula Dumbar for providing the authors with the TsuDig software. Thanks to the two anonymous reviewers who helped to improve the quality of this article with their useful comments. Finally, many thanks to Pr. Franck Lavigne for supporting this work and reviewing this article before submission and to Marion Cole for reviewing the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géographie PhysiqueUniversité Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CNRS (UMR 8591)Meudon CedexFrance
  2. 2.Equipe «Géologie des Systèmes volcaniques», IPGPUniversité de la Réunion, CNRS (UMR 7154)Saint-Denis, La RéunionFrance

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