North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas

Tsunami Information Centre

Emerging Pilot Tsunami Ready Initiatives: Italy’s Civil Protection Council of Ministers establishes the Italian National Tsunami Ready Board, a first in NEAM Region

Emerging Pilot Tsunami Ready Initiatives: Italy’s Civil Protection Council of Ministers establishes the Italian National Tsunami Ready Board, a first in NEAM Region

To better prepare for tsunamis, there is a need 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 in the NEAM region is getting traction. Tsunami Ready is a performance-based recognition 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, under the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) / NEAMTWS framework, a Tsunami Ready Team was established under the leadership of Working Group 4 (Public Awareness, Preparedness and Mitigation), tasked with coordinating, developing and recommending strategies, actions and an implementation plan for community Tsunami Ready in NEAMTWS. In parallel to this process, several countries, including Italy, France, Greece, Portugal Spain and Turkey have started identifying pilot sites, as well as piloting Tsunami Ready initiatives in NEAM region.

In 2020, Italy, for example launched three TR pilot projects in Minturno in Lazio region, Palmi in Calabria region and Pachino/Marzamemi in 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.

Aerial views of Minturno-Scauri by Paola Rotasso and Riccardo Clemente

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, etc.