A Webinar to commemorate the 5th World Tsunami Awareness Day was organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO in partnership with UNDRR on 4th November 2020 for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (NEAMTWS) region. Over a hundred attendees participated in the Webinar. It was a first on that scale and level. The Webinar consisted of three expert panels who highlighted the key advances in strategies to mitigate and prepare for tsunamis in the NEAM region, and how to be better prepared to reduce tsunami risk in the future. It highlighted the critical milestone achievements and challenges in the development of the technical upstream component of the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the NEAM region. The webinar demonstrated how pilot projects are helping to shape tsunami risk reduction strategies at the local level. An essential part of the panel discussion focused on critical challenges and opportunities in implementing local community recognition programme such as the Tsunami Ready in the NEAM region. The Tsunami Ready recognized community programme was acknowledged as an excellent model for mitigation, preparedness and response to tsunami risk. Two short videos prepared by IOC-UNDRR in collaboration with the Italian Istituto Nazionale di geofisica e vulcanología and the Italian Civil Protection, Roma, Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, the National Observatory of Athens and the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute Bogazici University, Turkey were launched during the webinar to commemorate the WTAD. The webinar also represented an opportunity to discuss the recent tsunami that impacted the island of Samos (Greece) Samos and the Aegean coast of the Izmir region (Turkey) following a strong earthquake on 30 October 2020 and the need for increased tsunami education, preparedness.
The NEAMTWS webinar is one of four being convened by regional IOC-led coordinating teams for its regional tsunami early warning systems. Similar Webinars were organized for the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. The NEAMTWS Webinar was moderated by Professor Maria Ana Baptista, the new chair of ICG/NEAMTWS, Professor Costas Synolakis, the new vice-Chair of ICG/NEAMTWS and Dr Denis Chang Seng, ICG-NEAMTWS Technical Secretary and Programme Specialist at IOC of UNESCO.
Panellist included Dr Öcal Necmioğlu (Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute Bogazici University, Turkey), Mr Luigi D'Angelo (Italian Civil Protection, Roma, Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, Italy), Mr Amir Yahav (National steering committee for earthquake preparedness, Israel), Prof Mauricio González (Universidad de Cantabria – Cantabria Environmental Hydraulics Institute (IHCantabria), Spain), Dr Alessandro Amato ( Istituto Nazionale di geofisica e vulcanologia, Roma, Italy), Dr Nikos Kalligeris (Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens), Mrs Areti Plessa (Department of Planning, Civil Protection Directorate, Region of Attica), Mrs Cecilia Valbonesi (Department of Legal Sciences, University of Florence, Italy) and Mr Alessandro Annunziato (European Commission - Joint Research Centre).|
The WTAD 2020 was organized as a 30-day "campaign" with three key pillars and events focused on Global Target E of the Sendai Framework: ‘Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020’, without forgetting the rated Target G on multi-hazard early warning systems. A vital pillar of the WTAD activities this year included regional webinars convened between 3-10 November focusing on the need to build end- to- end effective Tsunami Early Warning Systems to ensure tsunami early warning are translated into early actions, thus reducing risk and impacts from tsunamis.
In future, IOC plans to host regular, but shorter webinars focused on key topics of interest.