Police agents at Playa de San Juan in Alicante, Source: Ayuntamiento de Alicante

Alicante will test a tsunami-warning system

Alicante will test a tsunami-warning system

This is part of a UNESCO-coordinated exercise

Alicante’s Security Department reported that a simulation exercise testing the city’s preparedness in the case of a tsunami will be carried out tomorrow, 9 March. This is organized by UNESCO’s Oceanographic Commission in conjunction with the Valencian Agency for Security and Emergency Response (AVSRE).

The drill will not involve any actual deployment of resources and personnel but is rather aimed at monitoring the preparedness of a messaging system that is mean to broadcast warnings of the upcoming disastrous event.

Tsunamis are rare in the Mediterranean Basin, but earthquakes are not

One might wonder whether tsunamis are really such a threat to Alicante’s population and infrastructure, however, it is good to remember that the Mediterranean Sea is often the epicentre of earthquakes and even some volcanic activity (in Sicily and Naples), all of which are precursors to the creation of destructive waves.

In fact, the exercise in question will simulate a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in the Tyrrhenian Sea, which then causes tsunami waves to travel towards the North African, Greek and Spanish coasts. In this case, however, no damages and rescue operations will be simulated as warning and prevention are also considered key elements of the whole disaster management process.

Throughout the year the municipal security forces organize and carry out different drills with which we improve response efficiency and coordination, intervention protocols and how we should act in the operating procedure and these types of practices help a lot to improve response times,” explained José Ramón González, the Security Councilor of Alicante.

In a sense, this aims to verify the preparedness of the International Alert Centers as well as that of the national and regional chains of command, such as the Valencian Emergency Coordination Center. The role of this network is to detect seismic events and tsunamis and broadcast warnings in a timely manner, which may be crucial as often the time window allowed for response is short in the case of tsunamis.

Alicante’s municipal website also reminded the readers that the city is one of the first two (together with Benifalló) to present a Municipal Action Plan against Seismic Risk in the Valencian region.

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