Some images taken during the workshop that was held between September 25 and 28, 2023 in Larnaca (Cyprus)
The participatory process started in Larnaca City, Cyprus, as part of the EU DG ECHO's CoastWAVE project, will lead the town to achieve UNESCO recognition as a Tsunami Ready community. The process would allow Larnaca City to be awarded candidature for this important designation by June 2024 and is being supervised by the Department of Geology at the University of Cyprus.
Larnaca was chosen because of a number of characteristics that distinguish it from other municipalities on the island including: its coastal location, its particularly flat territory (which poses an additional challenge), and the high tourist flow that increase the 'exposure-and vulnerability-to tsunamis. Indeed, the city's seafront hosts many hotels and tourist activities that increase the risk. Larnaca's territory also hosts the largest national airport in Cyprus.
To address the lack of national tsunami risk management emergency plans, Cyprus is developing inundation maps, evacuation plans, national and local standard operating procedures that aim to strengthen infrastructure and increase public awareness. The authorities in charge are also implementing training and information activities at various levels.
The first meeting among the project participants was held on June 28, 2023 and is described in this article. The second workshop was held between September 25 and 28, 2023. The meetings were jointly organized by the Cyprus Department of Geology and the three partners of the CoastWave Project: the Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de la Universidad de Cantabria (IHCantabria), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), and the National Observatory of Athens (NOA).
Workshop participants discussed and selected - from a participatory perspective - planning parameters useful for defining different tsunami risk areas in Larnaca. The outputs of the meeting constitute key information for planning emergency and evacuation plans.
In particular, the probabilistic tsunami risk assessment (PTHA) methodology was used during the workshop, making Larnaca the first location in the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean and Related Seas (NEAM) region to use high-resolution local-scale simulations for evacuation planning.
During the workshop, CAT-INGV and IHCantabria experts presented-and included-in the decision-making process, some examples of case studies and tsunami risk assessment methodologies applied in different international contexts. NOA also provided expertise on regional tsunami warning systems (IOC UNESCO/NEAMTWS) and how these services can be used to issue local warnings.
Participants, at the end of the shared planning process, completed an interactive questionnaire expressing their views on five key issues related to tsunami risk area selection for evacuation planning. This will help to guide decision makers in their final choices, providing them with the knowledge and tools essential for making informed decisions for evacuation planning in Larnaca.
The collaboration between the stakeholders fosters Cyprus' proactivity in Larnaca's application to the Tsunami Ready program.