The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS), organized on 9 November, 2022 under Working Group 4 on Public Awareness, Preparedness and Mitigation a hybrid webinar on tsunami risk perception studies within the NEAM region. Recent studies were discussed such as the Centro Allerta Tsunami Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (CAT-INGV) Central and Southern Italy, the Assessment STrategy And Risk for Tsunami (ASTARTE) project funded by the European Union, and the ongoing IOC-UNESCO and EU-DG-ECHO “CoastWAVE” project sea level related hazards risk perception survey questionnaire. The aim of the webinar was to discuss on the state of knowledge on hazard risk perception in the region, one of the key objectives under pillar three on Awareness and Response of the new ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy, hazards and risk perceptions effect behaviors, decision making process, resilience and community preparedness. Surveys and studies will support the design of better education, awareness and communication strategies, as well as the implementation of UNESCO IOC Tsunami Ready Recognized communities.
Figure 1. Istanbul Tsunami Drill Exercise, 4 November 2022. Source: IOC-UNESCO
CoastWAVE project member states such as Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, Egypt and Spain are preparing to conduct a sea level related hazards risk perception survey for tsunami, storm surge and sea level rise. A similar questionnaire was completed in the ASTARTE project (2013-2016), where communities were surveyed on their perception about tsunamis, pollution, earthquakes, and flooding. A multi-hazards risk perception approach would indicate / provide the state of knowledge of coastal communities concerning their beliefs and likely behaviors towards different types of natural disasters. CAT-INGV conducted a tsunami risk perception survey in three phases from 2018-2021 in different regions of Italy including the 1908 Messina Strait earthquake and tsunami area. An important finding shows that people who live in the area that was hit by the 1908 event has a higher tsunami risk perception in comparison to residents of other areas.
The group agreed to prepare a synthesized document on the state and evolution of sea level and tsunami risk perception for the NEAM region. The webinar was attended by 30 experts from Working Group Four and CoastWAVE project partner institutions.