UNESCO warns major tsunami battering Egypt and Turkey 'almost 100% likely'
UNESCO's shocking announcement arrived just before the UN Ocean Conference begins on 27 June in Lisbon, Portugal, and coincides with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development from 2021-2030.
The United Nations' agency launched this week a global programme to ensure all at-risk communities - which includes Istanbul and Alexandria - are 'tsunami ready' for the possible natural disaster that looks certain to hit shores in Turkey and Egypt by 2030.
"Putting people at the heart of the 'Tsunami Ready' recognition process, UNESCO builds community resilience in an open, participatory manner," Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO said in a statement received by The New Arab.
The Tsunami Ready programme is being piloted in regions across the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans - where the majority of tsunamis impact.
Over "40 communities in 21 countries are already safer now they have implemented" it, according to Ryabinin.
To protect those across the Mediterranean by 2030, the executive secretary said the scheme must be scaled up "very fast".
UNESCO said that Istanbul is currently preparing for the worst-case tsunami scenario in 17 coastal districts and the governor of Alexandria has appealed to scientists globally to visit and advise on a plan to make the coastal city able to cope with such natural hazards.
UNESCO said key steps to protecting at risk communities include providing easily understood tsunami evacuation maps and ensuring education resources are available and distributed.
It also stressed that education programmes on tsunamis should be held at least three times a year and that a community tsunami exercise is conducted every two years.
Around 78 percent of tsunamis are caused by seismic activity, according to UNESCO, and Turkey is one of the world's most active zones for this.