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Cyprus on the path to making Larnaca Tsunami Ready

A workshop held on 28 June 2023 in Larnaca helped advance Cyprus’ tsunami preparedness efforts.


Cyprus is gearing up to enhance its preparedness for potential tsunami events by partnering with the IOC/UNESCO in the UNESCO-IOC EU DG ECHO CoastWAVE project. The Geological Survey Department of Cyprus is leading preparations to declare the coastal town of Larnaca “Tsunami-Ready” by June 2024. Larnaca was chosen because it’s low-elevation, flat terrain and high flow of tourists make it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis. The city’s bustling seafront area houses critical infrastructure, including Cyprus’ largest national airport.

To address the lack of emergency national plans related to sea-level hazards, Cyprus is developing inundation maps, evacuation plans, national and local standard operating procedures, bolstering infrastructure, increasing public awareness, and conducting training activities.

A workshop held on 28 June 2023 in Larnaca helped advance Cyprus’ tsunami preparedness efforts. The event was jointly organized by Cyprus’s Geological Survey Department and three CoastWave Project partners: Spain’s Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de la Universidad de Cantabria (IHCantabria), Italy’s Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), and Greece’s National Observatory of Athens (NOA).

The workshop participants discussed and selected design parameters for defining Larnaca’s tsunami hazard zone, a key piece of information that can be used for emergency and evacuation planning. Notably, the workshop employed the probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment (PTHA) methodology, making Larnaca the first location in the North-Eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and connected seas (NEAM) region to use high-resolution simulations at the local scale for evacuation planning.

The workshop also included presentations on case studies of tsunami hazard assessment methodologies applied in various parts of the world by INGV and IHCantabria. NOA contributed by introducing the concepts of regional tsunami warning systems (IOC UNESCO/NEAMTWS) and how these services can be utilized to issue local warnings.

All participants completed an interactive questionnaire expressing their views on five key issues related to the selection of the tsunami hazard zone for evacuation planning, an exercise intended to guide decision-makers, equipping them with the knowledge and tools required to make informed decisions for evacuation planning in Larnaca. 

Cyprus’s proactive steps in tsunami preparedness underscore its commitment to safeguarding coastal communities, ensuring the safety and well-being of  residents and visitors alike.

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