UNITED NATIONS -- Petra Nemcova had never even heard the word "tsunami" until one hit her.
Now, the Czech supermodel is calling on the United Nations to help the world better prepare natural disasters.
"Human nature is being reactive instead of proactive, but in the case of natural disasters when you are being reactive it is often too late," Nemcova said Thursday. "In the case of tsunamis there's a beautiful thing that you have time. So if there are the right early warning systems, education and preparedness you can save lives."
Nemcova was vacationing in Thailand with fiancé Simon Atlee in 2004 when the waves struck. He drowned and she barely survived with serious injuries, including a broken pelvis. After recovering, she founded the Happy Hearts Fund to rebuild schools devastated by natural disasters.
Nemcova and Tomas Alvarez-Belon, whose tsunami survival story was portrayed in the film "The Impossible," were at U.N. Headquarters in New York ahead of World Tsunami Awareness Day on Nov. 5