UNESCO's top tsunami expert has warned that 'it is not if, it’s when' a
huge wave will crash into a number of European cities as work is already
being done to save lives
An expert has warned that the question "is not if, it’s when” a tsunami
will hit in the Mediterranian - and it will likely be more than a metre
high and within the next 30 years.
Vladimir Ryabinin, chief of UNESCO’s Oceanographic Commission, has said
that “we have to be prepared for it” and that it could be “catastrophic”.
The Guardian reports that Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul are all in
danger of being hit.
READ MORE: Seattle could be swallowed by 42ft tsunami in minutes if
earthquake hits, study shows
UNESCO recently announced the new Tsunami Ready programme, which aims to
train towns and communities that are at risk to know exactly what to do in
the face of a big wave by 2030.
UNESCO’s top tsunami expert, Bernardo Aliaga, said: “The risk of tsunami
is underestimated in most areas, including the Mediterranean.
“Events are not very frequent and the risk does not translate from one
generation to another.
“We need to get the message out,” he said. “In the Mediterranean, there is
no question about it: it is not if, it’s when.”
“Work has been done to establish 12 tsunami-warning centres covering most
of the ocean, including the Mediterranean.”
The centres across the Mediterranian and northeast Atlantic are located in
Greece, Turkey, Italy, France and Portugal.
Aliaga added: "We want 100% of communities, where there is a proven
hazard, to be ready to respond by 2030.
“They will have evacuation maps, they will have carried out exercises and
they will already have in place 24-hour alerts.”
It is hard to imagine Europe being so badly affected by earthquakes or
tsunamis, but it isn’t unheard of.
In 1755, a huge earthquake created enormous six-metre high waves in Lisbon
and Cádiz while some 60,000 are thought to have died in an earthquake off
the coast of Sicily in 1693.
In 2020 a Greek island, Samos, was hit by a tsunami.
On its site, UNSECO says: “The Tsunami Ready program seeks to build
resilient communities through awareness and preparedness strategies that
will protect life, livelihoods, and property from tsunamis in different
“The main goal of the program is to improve coastal community preparedness
for tsunamis and to minimize the loss of life, livelihoods, and property.”