In response to the tragic tsunami on 26 December 2004, in which over 250,000 lives were lost around the Indian Ocean region, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO/IOC) received a mandate from the international community to coordinate the establishment of an Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for each region: the Caribbean, the Atlantic and Mediterranean basins and the Indian Ocean, to guide the development of tsunami warning centres in those areas.
An end-to-end tsunami warning system begins with the rapid detection of a tsunami wave and ends with a well prepared community that is capable of responding appropriately to a warning. An effective end-to-end tsunami early warning system could save thousands of lives in a tsunami event.
The operation of a tsunami warning centre is a vital part of an end-to-end tsunami warning system. A tsunami warning centre is not only involved in acquiring and processing data for detecting a tsunami, but also in formulating and disseminating tsunami warnings and connecting with communities at risk to ensure that they understand the warning and have the capacity to respond.
End to End TEWS
Source: U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Program (US IOTWS). 2007. Tsunami Warning Center. Reference Guide supported by the United States Agency for International Development and partners, Bangkok, Thailand. 311 p.
Languages : English
World Tsunami Awareness Day, 2020
Italy joining the tsunami ready global community
Kos, Greece and Bodrum, Turkey Tsunami ready
Israel is getting ready against tsunamis
UNESCO Disaster and Risk Reduction
Manuals and guides; 69
Manuals and guides. Languages: English.
Manuals and guides; 65
Manuals and guides; 61
Overview of the Project
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO will implement the project: Strengthening the Resilience of Coastal Communities in the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean Region (NEAM) to the Impact of Tsunamis and Other Sea Level-Related Coastal Hazards. A project financially supported by the European Union.
The main objective of the project will be to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities in NEAM Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (TWS) countries to tsunamis and other sea level-related hazards. The overall impact that the project will seek to achieve will be to reduce risk, increase safety and enhance the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to coastal hazards in Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Malta, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey.
Overview of the Positions
The two selected candidates will work under the direct supervision and guidance of the IOC Tsunami Programme Specialist in charge of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS).
Associate Project Officer
To support the implementation, organization and delivery of the project, an advertisement for an Associate Project Officer has been posted in the IOC-UNESCO careers website. Details of the vacancy position are available in the following link:
To provide administrative support, organization and delivery of the project, an advertisement for a Project Assistant has also been posted in the IOC-UNESCO careers website. Details of the vacancy position are available in the following link:
The National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) launched in May 2021, within the SiAM- Italian National Alert System for Tsunamis framework, a program for enhancing the implementation of high precision and high-frequency long wave measurement network with the installation of six new stations for sea-level measurement able to withstand severe operating conditions. The new stations will support the monitoring of sea level and sea state at high precision and accuracy, thus enhancing the detection and monitoring of tsunamis and other sea-level related hazards in that particular region.
The new sea level tide gauge stations are located almost offshore in Cetraro Lido (Calabria), Capo Teulada (Sardinia), Portopalo di Capo Passero (Sicily), Roccella Jonica (Calabria) and on the small islands of Marettimo (Sicily) and Pantelleria (Sicily).
Innovative sea level gauge
New tide gauge station network locations (blue icons).
The new sea-level gauges have been placed in such locations to help improve timely alerts and confirm potential tsunami events along the Central and Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, the Sicilian Channel and the Ionian Sea. They are acquired at high sampling rate, with very robust infrastructures, and are currently used for tsunami monitoring by the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), also serving as a Tsunami Service Provider for the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS) member States.
The innovative sea-level stations are equipped with a piezometric sensor and a thermistor and a video camera with real-time data transmission system (UMTS and Iridium) onboard. A mobile application can be downloaded through the server, making this information easily attainable within your own pockets and phones while, data are available in real-time to the public through the ISPRA-SiAM-TAD-Server at the following platform: https://tsunami.isprambiente.it/TAD_Server/Home
Examples of sea level data for the Teulada (Sardinia) new station
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO Secretariat for the ICG/NEAMTWS and Working Groups 2 and 3 on Seismic, Geophysical and Sea Level measurements welcomed this technological innovation and contribution to Italy’s Tsunami Alert System and NEAMTWS, supporting the delivery of essential information needed for our sustainable development, safety, wellbeing and prosperity.
The newly created Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS) Group on Tsunami Ready co-chaired by Areti Plessa (Greece) and Cecilia Valbonesi (Italy), held its second meeting on 30 June. France, Italy and Spain reported gradual but incremental progress in initiating pilot Tsunami Ready despite several challenges, namely navigating through burocratic, legal and institutional instruments and frameworks. In Greece, Lebanon, Spain and Turkey, increased engagement and connections are being established with other vital stakeholders, particularly civil protection agencies. Turkey and Israel are exploring the adoption of new technologies to disseminate tsunami alert messages to the public. There is common interest to further engage and better work together towards Community Tsunami Ready in the NEAM Region.
Second online meeting of the ICG/NEAMTWS Dedicated Group on Tsunami Ready (Group Picture).
Moreover, some Member States are closely examining the Tsunami Ready Recognition Guidelines and their national legal frameworks to better understand how to pilot Tsunami Ready. Alessandro Amato reported on the ongoing efforts of setting up national and local community boards in three pilot areas in Italy. Italy has set up the first National Tsunami Ready Board in NEAM region in May 2021, as well as two Local Committees in two coastal municipalities. Mauricio Gonzales from the University of Cantabria, Spain, reported that meetings were organized to improve the Andalusian Emergency General Direction engagement. Spain is also planning to carry out Tsunami Ready information sessions in a local historical site for the general public to raise tsunami education and awareness. In addition, there are plans to install emergency sirens in Chipiona, Spain. Matthieu Péroche from France, presented progress in the elaboration of evacuation maps in the French coast and expressed his interest in sharing the hypotheses and methodologies of making these maps within the Tsunami Ready Group as a way to stimulate collaboration and knowledge dissemination among NEAM member states.
IOC UNESCO Programme Specialist and ICG/NEAMTWS Technical Secretary Denis Chang Seng took the opportunity to inform the Group of the recent developments that will drive the work of the Tsunami Ready community. The IOC Assembly 31 Session, 14-25 June 2021, has approved the establishment of the Ocean Decade Tsunami Programme and a Scientific Committee to prepare the draft 10-year Research, Development and Implementation Plan to make 100% of communities at risk prepared and resilient to tsunamis by 2030. A special coalition for Tsunami Ready will be established with the participation of critical international stakeholders.
A third Tsunami Ready Group meeting is planned in October 2021 ahead of the World Tsunami Awareness Day (WTAD) 2021 to review ongoing progress on piloting Tsunami Ready. It will also be an opportunity to exchange experience and lessons learned with experts from other tsunami regions who have already implemented Tsunami Ready.
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.
The Seventeenth Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS-XVII) will not take place in person but online in November 2021 as a precaution to the COVID-19 Pandemic outbreak. More updates will be provided in preparation to the meeting in the coming weeks.