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Larnaca gearing up to be acknowledged as Tsunami Ready city


 

Larnaca will be the first coastal city in Cyprus to acquire an early warning system and tsunami evacuation plan and be recognised as “Tsunami Ready”.

In a statement by the municipality, it was announced that “the city has been chosen to participate in the CoastWAVE program, coordinated and financed by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission with local coordination from the Department of Geological Surveys.”

Cyprus is joining efforts with Larnaca municipality and other communities from Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Malta, Israel, Egypt, and Morocco.
Currently, only two coastal cities in the Mediterranean-North Atlantic region have been recognized as tsunami-ready: Cannes and Alexandria.

The recognition of a coastal community as tsunami-ready involves strategies for information dissemination, establishing appropriate infrastructure, preparedness plans, and actions aimed at minimizing human casualties.

According to UNESCO, the seismology group of the Department of Geological Surveys began declaring Larnaca as a tsunami-ready city in 2021.

Several relevant seminars have already been conducted in Larnaca under the CoastWAVE initiative, involving competent local authorities. These seminars addressed planning parameters to define the city’s hazard zone and formulate an evacuation plan in case Cypriot authorities receive a tsunami warning.

Initial tabletop readiness exercises have been conducted, followed by practical evacuation drills involving schools and other critical social facilities.

The statement also notes that Larnaca was chosen due to its low elevation and flat terrain, making the city highly vulnerable to tsunamis. The city’s developed coastline and the presence of an airport also factored into the decision.

Installation of appropriate road markings has already begun in the city. It is expected that by the end of 2024, installation of markings across the hazard zone, as well as signage featuring evacuation maps and corresponding instructions, will be completed. Sirens and various informational brochures will also be distributed.

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“We anticipate that by 2026, Larnaca will receive UNESCO’s designation as ‘Tsunami Ready’ and will be fully prepared to ensure the safety of its residents in the event of a natural disaster,” the statement concludes.


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