UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

03/04/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/04/2021 09:05

From 8 to 10 March UNESCO coordinates tsunami preparedness in the Mediterranean and North-Eastern Atlantic

The countries bordering the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and adjacent seas will take part from 8 to 10 March in a tsunami preparedness exercise, set up under the aegis of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO). The exercise marks the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, which caused a deadly and devastating surge on the north-eastern coast of the island of Honshu, leading to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The aim of the exercise is to assess the local action plans to respond to the risk of tsunamis, to increase preparedness for such events and to ensure good overall coordination between the communities and competent authorities. Called NEAMWave21, this will be the fourth such exercise, following those of 2012, 2014 and 2017. A similar exercise is planned for 12 March in the Caribbean.

Regional and national ocean tsunami warning systems need to maintain a high level of preparedness so that all actions essential for the safety of people can be triggered in a timely manner. There must be an immediate response to natural disasters with rapid onset and evolution, such as tsunamis. To maintain a high level of preparedness, national tsunami warning centres and civil protection authorities must regularly put their emergency response procedures to the test. This includes ensuring that vital communication links are operational, that response personnel are fully aware of their role and able to act as quickly as possible during such an event.