|© Valparaiso, Chile/Shoa, UNESCO|
The Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (NEAMTWS) will be tested for the first time tomorrow, 10 August, says UNESCO.
Though the system was developed in 2005, this will be its first test, in a bid to gauge how effective communication between regional and national centres and tsunami warning focal points. Thirty-one countries will take part in the excercise, including three Arab states: Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
Electronic messages will be sent from the Istanbul Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute to all the national centres in the 31 countries involved along with tsunami warming focal points. The idea is to measure how fast the transmission of data and reaction is to determine if there are any possible weak points that need to be improved.
While the area is calmer than the Pacific Ocean when it comes to seismic activity, it has seen it’s share of violent earthquakes and tsunamis over the years. Most recently, a weak tsunami was observed in 2003 off the coast of Algeria. In 1908, a larger tsunami killed 85,000 people in Messina, Italy.
According to UNESCO, a more comprehensive test of a regional tsunami scenario involving the participation of the media will be conducted during 2012.