Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul prepare for Mediterranean tsunami

Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul prepare for Mediterranean tsunami

Risk of significant tsunami within next 30 years is nearly 100%, Unesco says, as it urges coastal cities to become ‘tsunami-ready’

Japan’s 2011 tsunami was 40m high but 1.5m waves can move cars. The 2004 tsunami, in which 230,000 people died, was a ‘wake-up call’, Unesco says. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Japan’s 2011 tsunami was 40m high but 1.5m waves can move cars. The 2004 tsunami, in which 230,000 people died, was a ‘wake-up call’, Unesco says. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

A tsunami could soon hit major cities on or near the Mediterranean Sea including Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul, with a nearly 100% chance of a wave reaching more than a metre high in the next 30 years, according to

Authorities in Alexandria, Istanbul, Marseille, Cannes and Chipiona are working on “tsunami-ready” preparedness, including evacuation signs and procedures, as well as plans for warning tourists, Aliaga said.

“We want 100% of communities, where there is a proven hazard, to be ready to respond by 2030,” he said. “They will have evacuation maps, they will have carried out exercises and they will already have in place 24-hour alerts.”

Alerts were triggered about 10 minutes after an earthquake hit, he said, and could take the form of anything from loudhailers to WhatsApp messages.

“If it’s a local tsunami, you have 20 minutes maximum before the first wave hits. The second wave is larger and comes 40 minutes after the first one. You still have the possibility of escape.”

Vladimir Ryabinin, executive secretary of Unesco’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, said: “More than 40 communities in 21 countries are already safer now they have implemented our tsunami-ready programme. If we are to meet this global challenge by 2030, we must scale-up our programme very fast.”

Topics

  • Tsunamis
  • Seascape: the state of our oceans
  • France
  • Egypt
  • Turkey
  • Spain
  • Coastlines
  • Europe
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