To better prepare for tsunamis, it is essential to focus on tsunami education as much as early warning facilities and systems. Currently, there are no established community tsunami recognition programmes in the North-Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean and Connected Seas (NEAM) region like in other regions (Caribbean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific). Nonetheless, the Tsunami Ready (TR) pilot programme is getting traction in the region. A performance-based recognition, Tsunami Ready is awarded to coastal communities that have established effective preparation measures to respond, save lives and minimize the loss of property in the event of a tsunami.
In April 2021, Working Group 4 (Public Awareness, Preparedness and Mitigation)the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) / NEAM Tsunami Warning System established a Tsunami Ready Team tasked with coordinating, developing and recommending strategies, actions and an implementation plan for community Tsunami Ready recognition in NEAMTWS. Several countries, including Italy, France, Greece, Portugal Spain and Turkey have started identifying pilot sites, as well as piloting Tsunami Ready initiatives.
In 2020, Italy launched three TR pilot projects in Minturno (Lazio region), Palmi (Calabria region) and Pachino/Marzamemi (Sicily). These municipalities are situated in areas that are characterized with tsunami hazard ranging from high to moderate levels and are suitable sites to test the applicability of TR in the Italian context.
Italy’s National Tsunami Ready Board (NTRB), established in May 2021, will be responsible for reviewing and approving Italian Tsunami Ready applications and will play an essential role in supporting coastal communities with their efforts to pursue TR recognition, providing a national framework and assuring the link to exercises at both regional and national levels.
The appointed Italian officers to the NTRB are Mr. Luigi D’Angelo (Italian Tsunami National Contact and Head of the Emergency management office), Mr. Alessandro Amato (Head of the Tsunami Warning Centre of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) and Mr. Maurizio Ferla (Head of the National Centre for coastal protection, maritime climatology and operational oceanography, Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA)). The board’s active collaborative effort with local communities and the public as well as local and national emergency management agencies, and other government authorities will help building resilient municipalities through the fulfilment of a set of pre-established TR indicators.
In 2021, two of the three TR pilot municipalities (Minturno and Palmi) also formalized their Local Committees. These are comprised of local society representatives, including the mayor, Civil Protection volunteers, Coast Guards, hoteliers, camping representatives, and other stakeholders.
For more information, please contact:
Denis Chang-Seng, Programme Specialist, Tsunami Unit, Technical Secretary (ICG-NEAMTWS) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Picture credit: Aerial views of Minturno-Scauri by Paola Rotasso and Riccardo Clemente