Larnaca: In the process of preparing to face a possible tsunami

Larnaca will be the first coastal city in Cyprus to get an early warning system and tsunami evacuation plan

Screenshot 8 11 Larnaca, evacuation plan, TSUNAMI

Larnaca will be the first coastal city in Cyprus to acquire a tsunami early warning system and evacuation plan and be recognized as "Tsunami Ready".

In a written announcement from the Municipality, it is stated that "the city was selected for participation in the CoastWAVE program which is coordinated and financed by the IOC-UNESCO (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco) with the local coordinator of the Department of Geological Survey".

It is added that "the recognition of a coastal community as Tsunami-Ready is done in the sense of its best possible preparation, through awareness strategies, creation of relevant infrastructure, preparation of action plans and preparedness with the aim of minimizing the loss of life".

Cyprus, added the statement, "joins this effort with the Municipality of Larnaca with other communities from Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Malta, Israel, Egypt and Morocco. So far only two coastal cities of the Mediterranean - North Atlantic region have been recognized as Tsunami-Ready and they are Cannes and Alexandria.

As announced by Unesco, "in 2021, the relevant work of the Seismology team of the Geological Survey Department, which is leading the effort to declare Larnaca a "Tsunami Ready" city, began."

In Larnaca "multiple related workshops were already held with the involvement of the competent local bodies within the framework of CoastWAVE, which concerned the design parameters for defining the city's danger zone and formulating its evacuation plan in case the Cypriot authorities receive a warning of a possible impending tsunami and evacuation is deemed necessary. The first preparedness exercise on paper has also been carried out, while practical evacuation exercises will follow with the participation of schools and other critical population groups."

It is noted that "Larnaka, as an area, has been chosen for its low altitude and flat topography (maximum vulnerability to tsunami), the development and high traffic of the coastal front all the time and for the fact that on its coastal front there are extremely critical infrastructures such as airport. Larnaca is the first candidate Tsunami-Ready coastal community in the Mediterranean - North Atlantic region to use high-definition simulations at the local level for evacuation planning purposes."

The main pillars on which the preparation of Larnaca by the Geological Survey Department to be ready to respond by evacuating the population in the event of a tsunami risk is based on "the mapping of the danger zone, the preparation of an evacuation plan for the danger zone of the coastal front, with the planning of suitable escape routes and assembly points and the planning and installation of the necessary road markings for information on the phenomenon and on the evacuation plan for each area".

Still in the main pillars are "the installation of equipment (such as tide gauge, seismograph, sirens), the renewal of the national plan for dealing with natural disasters of the Ministry of the Interior to include a special relevant plan for tsunamis, multiple actions for the awareness, information, education and preparedness of the citizens , competent local bodies and the Municipality in general, the investigation of the perception of the risk by the local community of the Municipality for appropriate adaptation of its awareness actions and others".

Installation of relevant road markings has already begun, “that is, in a sub-area of ​​the danger zone, which will guide pedestrians to escape routes and assembly points. The installation of the markings throughout the danger zone as well as information boards with the evacuation maps and related instructions is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, while at the same time sirens will be installed and various information leaflets will be distributed to the residents, adapted to different age groups.

The announcement of the Municipality of Larnaca also states that "this is a multi-faceted, multi-thematic and collective effort, which requires very close cooperation between national and local authorities, critical bodies, scientists of many different specialties and of course the residents of Larnaca, who will be and the end recipients and users of the system we create."

It is also noted that "we expect that within 2026 Larnaca will receive the title "Tsunami Ready" from Unesco and will be as well prepared as possible for the safety of its residents, in case it is affected by a tsunami".