North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas

Tsunami Information Centre

Malta Gathers Experts to Boost Tsunami Preparedness

Malta hosted a crucial national workshop on 11 July 2023, aimed at enhancing the country's tsunami preparedness and providing a platform for stakeholders to co-design ongoing efforts to bolster Malta’s readiness to potential tsunamis. The event, held at the Salini Resort in St. Paul's Bay, brought together government agencies, local authorities, and experts to discuss essential measures for tsunami response and safety.

The University of Malta spearheaded the organization as part of the CoastWAVE Project, a joint initiative of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). The workshop kicked off with welcoming remarks from Prof Pauline Galea, the CoastWAVE Project coordinator, who highlighted the project's work towards making Malta "Tsunami Ready." Mr. Peter Paul Coleiro, Director General of the Civil Protection Department (CPD), spoke on behalf of the Minister for Home Affairs, Security, Reforms, and Equality.

Project Coordinator Prof. Pauline Galea is presenting the CoastWAVE project

During the event, Dr. Denis Chang-Seng and Dr. Derya Vennin, representing IOC/UNESCO, discussed the UN Ocean Decade Tsunami Programme and the vital components of tsunami warning systems and Standard Operating Procedures. These discussions sparked lively interactions among the participants, focusing on improving warning systems, the need for a 24-hour National Tsunami Warning Centre, and comprehensive national-scale tsunami risk assessments.

Ms. Blanca Mendiguren's presentation figured among the key moments of the workshop, as she is the Project Officer responsible for recent tsunami inundation and evacuation mapping efforts in the Marsaxlokk and Birzebbugia regions, a crucial part of the CoastWAVE project in Malta. Prof. Pauline Galea also highlighted the real-time tsunami monitoring tools in use at the University of Malta’s Department of Geosciences – which currently acts as the national warning centre, – and the procedures to advise the Civil Protection Department.

 Mr. Fredrick Sammut, Chief Rescue Officer at CPD, shared valuable lessons from a full-scale exercise held in Marsaxlokk in November 2022, emphasizing the importance of addressing gaps and challenges in tsunami preparedness.

In the second part of the meeting, Dr. Derya Vennin showcased examples of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and response plans from other countries. Participants engaged in a group activity to better understand tsunami procedural steps, emphasizing the significance of SOPs at all levels.

The workshop concluded with discussions focusing on clarifying roles and responsibilities of various entities, securing funding, and creating a national tsunami response plan that integrates with other contingency planning, all under the guidance of the highest competent authorities.

Government agencies, local authorities, and experts discussing measures for tsunami response and safety.