NEW YORK – UNESCO warned that a tsunami would soon hit major cities in or near the Mediterranean Sea including Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul. And there is a nearly 100 percent chance that the waves will reach more than a meter in the next 30 years.
The risk of tsunami in Mediterranean coastal communities is expected to increase along with rising sea levels. While people in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, are often aware of the dangers. In contrast, in other coastal areas, including the Mediterranean it is often underestimated.
UNESCO said the five at-risk communities in the Mediterranean would join 40 other ‘tsunami ready’ cities and towns in 21 countries next year. In addition to Marseille, Alexandria, and Istanbul, they include Cannes and Chipiona, a city on Spain’s Atlantic coast near Cádiz.
The ‘tsunami prepared’ program is part of a UNESCO effort launched ahead of the UN Oceans conference in Lisbon, Portugal next week, to ensure all communities at risk will know what to do in the event of a tsunami by 2030.
“The 2004 and 2011 tsunamis are a warning. We have come a long way since 2004. We are safer today. But there are gaps in preparedness and we need to improve; we need to ensure that warnings are understood by visitors and the community,” said Bernardo Aliaga, lead tsunami expert at UNESCO as reported by Unilad.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the deadliest in history. The tsunami killed about 230,000 people in 14 countries. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in 2011, which reached a height of nearly 40 meters (130 feet), killed 18,000 people in Japan.
Bernardo Aliaga said authorities in the cities were working on a tsunami ready for preparedness. This includes evacuation signs and procedures, as well as plans to warn tourists.
The program will be launched at a UN maritime conference in Lisbon next week. Tsunami-ready is an effort to ensure that all communities at risk know what to do if a tsunami occurs in 2030.