The United Nations Ocean Conference will be held in Lisbon next week. Among other issues, there will be discussed the preparation of Mediterranean cities for a tsunami, the likelihood of which is considered very high in the coming decades, according to The Guardian. If tsunamis occur regularly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, then in many other regions of the world, including the Mediterranean, this danger is underestimated. However, as sea levels rise, the risk becomes more likely.
According to UNESCO, a tsunami could soon hit major cities such as Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul, and the probability that a tsunami with a wave height of more than a meter will hit the Mediterranean in the next 30 years is almost 100%. This is a lot: with a tsunami 1.5-2 meters high, water can lift and carry away cars, and the small waves formed by it can create streams moving at a speed of 65 km / h.
From 2023, 40 cities and towns from 21 countries around the world that already have a tsunami preparedness program will be joined by five more: in addition to Marseille, Alexandria and Istanbul, these are Cannes and Chipiona, a city on the Atlantic coast of Spain near Seville and Cadiz. The UNESCO units involved in the project should develop a risk reduction plan: mark dangerous areas with signs, post evacuation information and raise awareness among the people.
“We want 100% of proven-risk communities to be fully prepared by 2030,” says UNESCO Leading Tsunami Expert Bernardo Aliaga. “By this time, evacuation maps should appear and exercises should be completed, so that if necessary, people could be warned of the danger in time.” Tsunami alerts can be triggered about 10 minutes after an earthquake - it can be loud sirens and messages in instant messengers. “If this is a local tsunami, you have a maximum of 20 minutes before the first wave hits. The second wave is larger and comes 40 minutes after the first. There is time to hide,” says Aliaga.
In Europe, tsunamis do not happen very often, and therefore the story about them is not passed down from generation to generation. However, now the situation is different: the conversation is not about whether this will happen at all, but about exactly when it will happen. One of the worst tsunamis in history occurred in Europe - the Great Lisbon earthquake, which occurred in 1755, caused a tsunami 6 meters high that hit Lisbon and Cadiz. As a result, up to 50,000 people died, many of them became victims of giant waves.