Europe tsunami warning: Navy drills for mega-quake that could wipe out Mediterranean coast
Europe is on alert for a shock mega-quake, amid warnings that a tsunami could strike tourist hotspots in the Mediterranean with just 15 minutes warning. Ten leading navies carried out a surprise four-day ‘Mighty Waves’ drill intended to prepare European countries for a earthquake-tsunami disaster. Forces from Israel, US, France, and Greece took part in the doomsday drills in Israel’s Haifa port that responded to a simulated 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
In the simulated scenario, the earthquake struck northern Israel, killing thousands and knocking out infrastructure.
During the exercises, the forces simulated extracting wounded civilians to sea for treatment, fishing people out of the water and transferring humanitarian aid.
Representatives of seven other navies took part as observers.
On average, a severe tsunami hits the Mediterranean Sea once a century, and Israel’s coastline suffers one on average every 250 years.
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A shock 2016 report from Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Home-Front Readiness Subcommittee found that if Israel were to be struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed and another 8,600 injured.
European countries lead the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (ICG/NEAMTWS).
As part of the system, countries have more than 20 minutes to evacuate its populations the moment an earthquake happens in Crete or Greece.
The threat of a European mega-quake follows a warning that the southern Atlantic coast of Spain is under threat of being wiped out by a tsunami.
Regions such as the south of Spain and the east of the Mediterranean are actively seismic, putting them at risk of tsunamis.
Ignacio Aguirre, an expert on natural risks at the Environmental Hydraulics Institute of Cantabria, said: “We don’t pay the necessary attention to areas that are threatened by the probability of tsunamis, such as southern Spain.”
The researcher warned that cities like Huelva and Cadiz need an emergency plan put in place.
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In the worst-case scenario, a tsunami could strike Cadiz and Huelva with just 15 minutes warning.
The last earthquake in Spain took place in 1969 and 2003 in the Balearic Islands.
Last month, the Greek capital Athens was rattled by 5.1-magnitude earthquake
The quake knocked out power and telecommunications in the city and sent people fleeing from buildings in panic.
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