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
This video library aims at sharing the knowledge produced in the field of disaster risk management and tsunamis.
Workshops and training:
Tsunami Evacuation Workshop in Cyprus (September 2023)
CoastWAVE Project Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) workshop, Ispra, Italy. 5-6 October, 2022
Past events Commemoration videos:
Commemorating the Aegean Sea event on 30 October 2020
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2023
How young children are preparing for tsunami risk in the Mediterranean Region
Tsunami Risk in Malta
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2022
Tsunami Exercise Drill and Evaluation, Buyukcekmece, Turkey
Tsunami Risk in the Mediterranean
African Conference on Priority Setting & Partnership Development for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Cairo, Egypt. 10 - 12 May, 2022.
African Ocean 2022
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2021
CoastWAVE Project, EU DG-ECHO and UNESCO/IOC
PSA Short Animation
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2020
Italy joining the tsunami ready global community
Kos, Greece and Bodrum, Turkey, tsunami ready
Israel is getting ready to tsunami threats
UNESCO Disaster Risk Reduction
World Tsunami Awareness Day 2017
Preparing for Tsunamis in the Mediterranean
An early-warning system can be effective only when the population is well aware of the tsunami phenomenon and knows what to do in case of an emergency. These videos explain how tsunamis occur and provide an overview of the history of tsunamis in the Mediterranean region. They include a brief presentation of the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas. Tsunamis are a rare occurrence in the Mediterranean, leading to a lack of awareness and preparedness that put these densely populated coasts at greater risk.
Preparing for Tsunamis in the Mediterranean
Se préparer aux tsunamis en Méditerranée
نظام إنذار تسونامي لمنطقة شمال شرق المحيط الأطلسي والبحر المتوسط والبحار المتصلة به
Manuals and guides; 69
Manuals and guides. Languages: English.
Manuals and guides; 65
Manuals and guides; 61
The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, and connected seas Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS) introduces new informational products to contribute to the implementation of the Tsunami Ready Recognition Programme in the NEAM Region and ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy, with a specific focus on Pillar 3 on "Awareness and Response" of an Effective Early Warning and Mitigation System.
In 2004, when the Indian Ocean Tsunami hit 14 countries and killed more than 230,000 people, there was no tsunami warning system present in the Indian Ocean - nor in many other regions. “In fact, apart from the Pacific, there was almost no exchange of real-time data that is needed for tsunami warnings, and no deep-ocean monitoring systems in place,” says Denis Chang Seng, programme specialist for the Tsunami Resilience Section at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO).
Fast forwarding to 2023, the progress of tsunami warning systems has been tremendous. “Today, there are regional Tsunami Warning Systems in each of the four major ocean basins, with a total of 11 Tsunami Service Providers issuing tsunami threat advice to Tsunami Warning Centres established in each country” says Rick Bailey, Head of Secretariat for the IOC/UNESCO Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS).
Many coastal areas now receive tsunami threat advice within 10 to 20 minutes after a potentially tsunami-generating undersea earthquake is detected. “It is still technically challenging, however, to generate a timely and accurate tsunami warning in a short amount of time in the case of major earthquakes, and especially if the epicenter is not far from the coast,” says Chang Seng.
Tsunamis are known for their high speed - in deep water they are small and can move as fast as a jet plane, crossing entire oceans in less than a day, before slowing down and shoaling to greater heights in shallow water. In this race against time, every minute lost in receiving a warning can lead to a devastating toll on human lives - but various new technological advancements hold the key to ensuring swifter and more accurate tsunami alerts even in the most challenging cases. Below we share the developments that are shaping the future of tsunami warnings.
Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) Buoy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
To read the full article please visit the UNESCO website news portal, by clicking on the following link:
A ceremony took place on 12 April 2023 to launch the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, and connected seas Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS) 2030 Strategy (Technical Series and Brochure); and two new Tsunami Ready and Coastal Hazard Ready Posters. The ceremony was organized during the ICG/NEAMTWS Steering Committee meeting, 12-13 April at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France with the participation of the ICG/NEAMTWS Steering Committee Members and Permanent Delegates to UNESCO from France, Italy, Portugal, and Türkiye (NEAMTWS Tsunami Service Provider countries). Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO provided an opening speech. The launch ceremony aimed to raise visibility and awareness of the ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy, share and promote the work and activities including the Tsunami Ready Recognition Programme of the ICG/NEAMTWS and the Tsunami Resilience Section; and strengthen connections and cooperation with NEAM UNESCO Permanent Delegations.
From top to bottom and left right: Presentation of ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy booklet by Mr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO to Ms. Gülnur Aybet, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Türkiye to UNESCO; Mr. Denis Chang, Technical Secretary of the ICG/NEAMTWS presenting the Tsunami ready Poster; Group picture of the launch ceremony participants. Photographs credits: Tsunami Resilience Section team.
The Strategy will contribute to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), working towards a “safe ocean” where people are protected from ocean hazards. It will capitalize on the Ocean Decade societal benefits to improve monitoring, detection, and data-sharing among ICG/NEAMTWS Member States and partners. Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, the Executive Secretary of IOC, emphasized “The Tsunami Resilience Section coordinates a 24-hour service that protects the lives of people, the only operational service in UNESCO-IOC that does this, therefore it is extremely important for the lives and safety of coastal communities. My job as the Executive Secretary of the IOC is to see the ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy is well integrated into the framework of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and exploit the opportunities that arise with it”.
The ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy identifies key objectives, and foundational elements for a continuously improving NEAM Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System (TEWS) to meet stakeholder needs during the period (2021–2030), and it is supported by annual to biannual Plans of Action. It will also contribute to the new Ocean Decade Tsunami Programme (ODTP) Research and Development Implementation Plan which will be considered for endorsement by the IOC Assembly in June 2023. Dr. Denis Chang Seng, Technical Secretary of the ICG/NEAMTWS, highlighted that “The ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy together with the Ocean Decade Tsunami Programme and the Research Development and Implementation Plan will drive and define the next major milestones across all the three key pillars of a Tsunami Early Warning System in NEAM region. The five Tsunami Service Providers countries in France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Türkiye are the torch bearers to spearhead the way forward and support the engagement and participation of other countries in tsunami risk reduction”. The ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy brochure is also designed as a communication support tool to reach out to a broader audience, including the Ocean Decade community and partners. The full version of the NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy is published as IOC Technical Series, 171 (IOC/2022/TS/171).
The two Tsunami Ready posters were conceptually designed by Dr. Denis Chang Seng, Programme Specialist, and Technical Secretary of the ICG/NEAMTWS, Tsunami Resilience Section; and Mr. Alejandro Rojas, Tsunami Resilience Section Consultant. The posters will contribute to raising education and awareness of tsunami and other sea level-related coastal hazards by highlighting key aspects (i.e. Know Your Risk, Stay on Alert during anticipated hazards, Participate in Exercises, and Go to Safe Place) to be prepared based on the 12 Tsunami Ready Indicators (Manuals and Guides 74). The posters are not limited to the NEAM region countries, but will also be distributed to all four regional Intergovernmental Coordination Groups in the Pacific Ocean (ICG/PTWS), Indian Ocean (ICG/IOTWMS); and Caribbean Sea and Adjacent regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS). The ICG/NEAMTWS 2030 Strategy brochure is also designed as a communication support tool to reach out to a broader audience, including the Ocean Decade community and partners.
Please visit the event site for more information on the ICG/NEAMTWS SC meeting and the launch ceremony.
Please be informed that the ICG/NEAMTWS XVIII Session and CoastWAVE Project Workshop: Key Milestones, Challenges, and Opportunities, originally scheduled for 20-23 November 2023, have been postponed. Stay tuned for further updates and information regarding the rescheduled event.
The dates and venue tbc.
For more information, please visit event site on OceanExpert.