News

Preparing Mediterranean coastal communities for the next tsunami

Sixty risk management experts from the Euro-Mediterranean and Balkan countries will meet to discuss the idea of setting up an efficient early warning system which detects potential tsunamis in the Mediterranean, alerts populations at risk and triggers proper protective behaviours, at a workshop organised by the EU-funded Civil Protection programme (PPRD-South) on the island of Stromboli (Italy) from 30 May to 2 June 2012.
 
The workshop will be held in one of the most exposed Mediterranean coasts to the tsunami risk. Representatives of the national civil protection authorities of the Partner Countries, the Italian Civil Protection, the European Commission, UNESCO-IOC, three Italian key research institutes, five Italian regions among the most exposed to tsunami risk and the local municipality will review the state-of-art of the UNESCO-IOC Mediterranean Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (NEAMTWS). This will include organizational arrangements, ongoing and future activities planning, tsunami detection technologies and alert dissemination procedures.
 
Participants will be informed how, through a regional network of scientific institutes, NEAMTWS can now detect earthquakes or submarine landslides that can generate a tsunami. It can also identify potential tsunami impact areas, predict its propagation and its time of arrival and finally issue the tsunami warning to national authorities. Participants will assess the feasibility of exchanging sea level data which can confirm the tsunami and provide information on its amplitude although, in the Mediterranean, due to short tsunami wave travel time, it is not always possible to wait for such confirmation before issuing the alert.
 
Risk management experts will illustrate the capacity of their countries in issuing timely warnings to populations at risk, along with planned actions for ensuring that people in danger know what to do when they get the warning. 
 
Statistically, tsunamis in the Mediterranean are more frequent than those in the Indian Ocean and have caused extensive damage and loss of life over the centuries. According to the European Environment Agency, 200 tsunamis were recorded over the last 500 years around the Mediterranean, and the University of Bologna indicated recently that on average in the last four centuries Italy has been hit by 15 tsunamis every 100 years.
The reported Mediterranean tsunamis mainly occurred in the most seismic and volcanically active regions like the Aegean, Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, the sea of Marmara, along the Algerian coast and Cyprus.
 
The €5 million PPRD South Programme (Programme for Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters) – which runs for three years and is managed by a consortium led by the Italian Civil Protection Department together with the French, Algerian, Egyptian Civil Protection Authorities and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) – is also organising training workshops dealing with risks in the region such as wild fires, technological disasters, floods, earthquakes, epidemics and drought, among others.   (EU Neighbourhood Info)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
Draft Agenda
 
Workshop concept note
 
PPRD South – fiche and news  
 
PPRD South – website
 
Info Centre feature - “I have learned to tame fire”


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