During this week (from October 31st to November 3rd) a number of countries in the north-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas (NEAM) are testing tsunami preparedness in an exercise coordinated by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. The countries which take part to the exercise, known as NEAMWave 17, are: Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Russian Federation, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey.
The purpose of the exercise is to evaluate local tsunami response plans, increase tsunami preparedness, and improve coordination throughout the region. It is the third such international exercise in this region.
To maintain operational readiness, National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWCs) and civil protection agencies regularly need to test their emergency response procedures, including lines of communication and the ability of professionals to perform the tasks assigned to them in the event of a tsunami. NEAMWave 17 will be an opportunity to test the strengths and weaknesses of each country’s tsunami preparedness mechanisms.
NEAMWave17 will simulate four regional Tsunami events requiring the activation of national tsunami response plans and procedures. It will engage the region’s National Tsunami Warning Focal Points, National Tsunami Warning Centres and Civil Protection Authorities.
The exercise will feature four earthquake scenarios:
- Western Mediterranean scenario (7.3 magnitude earthquake, north of Algeria) with CENALT (France), 31 October, 09.00 to 10.20 UTC. It will include a simulated request for International Assistance in the afternoon.
- Eastern Mediterranean scenario (7.4 magnitude earthquake, Samandağ) with KOERI (Turkey), 1 November, 09.00 to 12.00 UTC
- Central Mediterranean scenario (8.5 magnitude earthquake, South of Zakynthos Island, Ionian Sea) with both CAT-INGV and NOA (Italy and Greece respectively), 2 November, 09.00 to 12.30 UTC
- North-east Atlantic scenario (8.5 magnitude earthquake, SW San Vincent Cape) with IPMA (Portugal), 3 November, 09.00 to16.00 UTC
Civil Protection Authorities have the option of carrying out different exercises, i.e. an orientation, a drill, a table-top exercise, a functional exercise, or a full-scale exercise including evacuation. Member States have been encouraged to extend the exercise to the community level and include critical infrastructures and establishments such as harbours, power plants, schools etc. The Western Mediterranean scenario will also include simulation of a request for International Assistance.
The exercise is coordinated by the UNESCO/IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas (ICG/NEAMTWS), supported by the Emergency Response and Coordination Center (ERCC) of the European Commission Civil Protection Mechanism.
More information on the ICG/NEAMTWS.