news5 novembre 2020

November 5, 2020, World Tsunami Awareness Day

The Department of Civil Protection takes part to the webinar dedicated to the countries of the Mediterranean area


Since 2015, the World Tsunamis Awareness Day (WTAD), organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (Undrr) to constantly raise awareness on tsunami risk and the need to build more resilient societies, is held every year on November 5, 2020. The Mediterranean coasts are  affected by tsunami risk, due to the high seismicity and the presence of numerous active, emerged and submerged volcanoes. For this reason, Italy has been participating since 2005 in NEAMTWS, the international warning system for tsunami risk in the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and related seas, under the coordination of the IOC - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. Since 2017, for Italy, the Department of Civil Protection coordinates the SiAM - National Alert System for Tsunami wave generated by earthquakes ithe Mediterranean Sea, which also includes the Ingv - National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology and the Ispra - Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research.

This year, on the occasion of the World Tsunami Awareness Day, the UNDRR and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, in collaboration with external partners and the United Nations and under the patronage of the Japanese government, have structured a 30-day campaign, with a schedule of events of different types. Among them: the screening of the documentary Tsunami: Facing The Global Threat on the research of a group of scientists on the event in Palu, Indonesia, in 2018; the programming of "regional" webinars to promote the exchange of experiences, studies and ideas between countries belonging to the same geographical area (eg. Mediterranea); the organization of the virtual event Third World Tsunami Museum to build a collective memory on tsunamis through the preservation and sharing of data, information, recordings and reports on past events; finally, the preparation of the World Tsunami Awareness Day: Ready for the Next Wave! scheduled for today, with the specific objective of raising awareness of the importance of national and local plans to defend communities at risk of tsunami.

Among these events, the Department of Civil Protection participated yesterday, November 4, 2020, to the webinar dedicated to the countries of the Mediterranean area, together with Turkey, Greece, Israel and Spain, participating in the panel dedicated to the overview and national progress in tsunami preparedness and mitigation strategies. Luigi D'Angelo, Director of Operations for the coordination of emergencies, spoke in particular about the path undertaken by Italy and the challenges we are facing in the management of this risk, stressing that for tsunamis an element of additional complexity derives from the impossibility to follow the procedures for alerting the population, already provided for other risks, and the need to include, for greater timeliness, a single and centralized alert. On this front, our country focused, first, in the construction of Siam and, second, in the development of IT-Alert, a system that, using cell-broadcasting technology, is able to alert via cell phone people passing through a risk area.

Alerting is not the only challenge posed by this risk: one of the biggest, probably, remains that of all the Italian coastal municipalities must equip themselves as soon as possible with specific civil protection plans for tsunamis, according to the Operational Indications provided by the same Department at the end of 2018. To support this process, on the basis of the results of the TSUMAPS-NEAM project, co-financed by DGECHO and coordinated by INGV, Ispra has elaborated, at the request of the Department, flood maps of coastal strips that can concretely help local Administrations to elaborate their own risk management strategy (for example, to identify escape routes) and to define the procedures for alerting the population.

At the national level, in order to constantly raise awareness on the issue of the components and operational structures of the National Civil Protection Service, exercises are carried out periodically. The last of these was organized for command posts in the Lazio Region, on the occasion of the Civil Protection Week, and involved in addition to the regional administration, the Prefecture of Rome and some coastal municipalities. As for the initiatives aimed at promoting the good particles of civil protection in the population, also this year, in more than 200 virtual squares, was held during Civil Protection Week, a digital edition of the campaign I don't take risks Tsunami.



This day has been chosen to remember the Tsunami of 1854 that hit Japan after a major seaquake. On that occasion, a person aware of what was happening try to alert all the people living on the area burning sheaves of rice piled up on its hillside land. So, when the tsunami hit the coast, many people were safe, by climbing up the hill.