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Celebration of the World Tsunami Awareness Day in the Mediterranean

05 November 2019

 

5 November 2019 - Member states of the North-Eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Systems (NEAMTWS) commemorated the World Tsunami Awareness Day.

 

In 2019, the World Tsunami Awareness Day will promote Target (d) of the "Sendai Seven Campaign" which focuses on reducing disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services. Investing in resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, and education is critical to saving people and protecting their assets against tsunami risk in the future. The IOC Tsunami Unit works everyday to ensure appropriate design and development of tsunami warning systems and to ultimately provide adequate protection at local, regional, and global scales. In the context of the WTAD, IOC-UNESCO encouraged several countries (Italy, Egypt, France, Greece, Portugal and Turkey) to carry out activities, exercises and events to raise awareness on the risks of earthquake and tsunami.

 

  • Latina, Italy

A Tsunami exercise was organized in Latina on 10 October 2019. The exercise, named ‘TSUNEXTT’, tested standard operating procedures of institutions and municipalities that manage a tsunami risk emergency.

The exercise simulated an emergency connected to a hypothetical tsunami. During this event, the SiAM Alert System (National Alert System for Tsunamis) was tested at national level by the DPC in collaboration with the CAT- INGV and the ISPRA. This event was organized by the Regional Civil Protection Agency of Lazio, the Prefecture of Latina, and twelve coastal municipalities of the Province, with the collaboration of the Department of Protection Civil (DPC), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (CAT-INGV), and the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA). In addition, the Police, the Fire Department, the Harbor Master's Office, the local Health unit (ASL), the regional Health Emergency unit and the Red Cross participated in the exercise that was held "for command posts".

Discover this activity and the three phases of the "seismic event alert"- from the "launch" of the alert to the end-of-event message that is sent to the structures in charge. Details of the exercise can be found here (in Italian).

 

              

 

  • Bodrum, Turkey

Turkey carried out two tsunami awareness raising and preparedness seminars and one table-top exercise.The tsunami awareness-raising seminar occurred in a primary school in Bodrum, Turkey, while a preparedness seminar was held at a hotel.

The table-top exercise was based on the 20 July 2017 Mw 6.6 Bodrum-Kos earthquake which provided an opportunity to assess the benefits of various activities undertaken since the 2017 earthquake. Among these activities, meetings were organized with local stakeholders on tsunami hazard-risk-awareness-readiness, preparation of tsunami inundation and evacuation maps, and installation of pilot local tsunami early warning system in the Bodrum Marina. After the exercise, a press conference was organized in Bodrum with the aim of raising tsunami awareness in the region, resulting in a national press release concerning these activities, which was issued by the Boğaziçi University. The Mugla City Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (Mugla AFAD) coordinated the table-top tsunami exercise. In addition, The District Governorship of Bodrum, the Municipality of Bodrum, the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute (KOERI), the Middle East Technical University (METU), the Bodrum Port Authority, and various NGOs, supported the exercise as part of the “Last Mile Turkey”, pilot project funded and supported by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC).

 

 

  • Kos, Greece

As part of the 'Tsunami Last Mile' research project, funded by the European Commission DG ECHO, an earthquake and tsunami preparedness exercise was organized in the city of Kos, Greece.

The purpose of the exercise, named KOSWAVE19-LM, was to test the effectiveness of a new serie of technological solutions, developed by the Joint Research Center (JRC) to provide tsunami early warnings to the local population, its integration into the municipality emergency management plan and procedures, and its interface with the national tsunami warning system. Moreover, the exercise aimed to provide opportunities for emergency management authorities to define their emergency plans, exercise their operational lines of communications, and promote tsunami preparedness in the community.

The exercise scenario is similar to the event of 21 July 2017, when a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck between the city of Kos (Greece) and Bodrum (Turkey) which generated a damaging tsunami (1.5 m) that hit the Bodrum peninsula and the city of Kos. Two local schools have participated in the exercise, and the students were asked to ‘get under their desk and cover’ during the earthquake shaking, to then ‘go outside’ after the shacking subsides, and after the tsunami warning is issued, ‘to move to the nearest assembly area’ through pre-defined evacuation routes using preinstalled signage along the routes.

The participants learned about the Tsunami Last Mile technologies installed in the city of Kos, the purpose and aim of the exercise, as well as its organizational structure. The exercise was co-organized by the Municipality of Kos, the Hellenic National Tsunami Warning Center of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and the Joint Research Center (JRC). An event was also organized to inform the public about the earthquake and tsunami preparedness exercise.

 

 

 

  • Egypt and Portugal 

In Egypt, the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, organized a one-day workshop on the World Tsunami Awareness Day, while in Portugal the Civil Protection municipalities in Cascais and Portimão  planned to show the public and the press their local warning system (signs, sirens, evacuation routes).

 

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For more information, please visit http://www.ioc-tsunami.org
Contact: Denis Chang-Seng, Programme Specialist, Oean Observation & Services Section /Tsunami Unit
d.chang-seng@unesco.org