The Civil Protection carried out the first national tsunami exercise in Malta on Friday morning to raise awareness and test its preparedness.
The department coordinated an evacuation operation in Marsaxlokk as part of a simulation in the event of a tsunami with waves ranging between 1m and 1.5m that hit Malta.
The exercise tested law enforcement communication between entities and operational procedures while promoting preparedness for emergencies that may arise.
Residents were informed that this exercise would take place. The roads were all closed, so there was no access from inside or outside the neighborhood.
Marsaxlokk was chosen because it is one of the lowest localities and is likely to be hit hardest by a tsunami.
Interior Minister Byron Camilleri explained how no country is protected from natural disasters and as a result, Malta must prepare for such emergencies.
He said the investment made in recent months to strengthen the Civil Protection fleet means the department was sufficiently equipped to conduct such exercises.
“We have spurred an unprecedented investment in developing the skills and knowledge of the workforce. In fact, in the last two years we have invested around € 300,000 in various types of training, from academic to more specialized,” Camilleri said.
The Director General of Civil Protection Emanuel Psaila said that the department organized awareness sessions with the residents of Marsaxlokk and consulted with the local council, the primary school and the association of hoteliers and restaurants.
While synergy between law enforcement is always crucial, in such a delicate operation, such cooperation is the key to success, Psaila said.
Tsunamis can occur in the Mediterranean Sea and Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology, from 1600 BC to date at least 290 tsunamis have occurred in the Mediterranean, some of them devastating.
One of the most recent occurred on 30 October 2020 when a 7-magnitude earthquake north of the island of Samos in Greece generated a tsunami that hit the Dodecanese islands and Turkey. The tsunami reached runups larger than 1.5m, locally, peaks were recorded near 2m.
Widespread damage has been reported in Izmir province where the withdrawal of the sea was observed followed by the tsunami and the rush of the waters caused one casualty. Damage was also recorded on Greek islands, in particular Samos.