On November 7, 2023, from 8 am to noon, Malta will host a tsunami response drill, aimed at evaluating local preparedness plans, enhancing readiness, and refining community-wide coordination.
The Mediterranean Sea has witnessed several tsunamis in the past century, including significant events in 1908 (Messina), 1956 (Greece), 2003 (Algeria), and 2017 (Greece), underscoring the critical importance of being well-prepared for such occurrences.
Dubbed NEAMWAVE23, this exercise falls under the auspices of IOC-UNESCO and will simulate a widespread Tsunami Threat scenario in the Eastern and Central Mediterranean, necessitating the activation of local response plans.
Coordinated by the Civil Protection Department, with support from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta, NEAMWAVE23 will evaluate the effectiveness of the Tsunami Warning System in the Mediterranean region, identifying both strengths and weaknesses, particularly in communication protocols.
The Italian regional Tsunami Service Provider will issue Tsunami WATCH messages following a simulated large earthquake in the Eastern Mediterranean. These messages will be relayed to emergency responders and stakeholders by the CPD using established protocols.
Additionally, a small-scale exercise will involve the evacuation and safe transport of a group of schoolchildren, along with the activation of public warning systems.
Building on the success of NEAMWAVE21 in March 2021 and the Tsunami Last Mile project in Marsaxlokk in November 2021, NEAMWAVE23 will also fulfill a requirement for the CoastWAVE initiative, led by the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta.
CoastWAVE aims to certify several Mediterranean communities, including Marsaxlokk, as Tsunami Ready. This exercise represents a crucial step towards bolstering regional resilience in the face of potential tsunamis.