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UNESCO warns Istanbul of tsunami


UNESCO, which published a report stating that the risk of a significant tsunami in Mediterranean coastal cities in the next 30 years is almost 100 percent, has added Istanbul to the list of cities under tsunami risk.

According to the U.K. daily Guardian, it was stated in the report that Cannes and Marseille from France, Alexandria from Egypt, Istanbul and Chipiona from Spain were cities at risk of a tsunami.

“The risk of tsunami is underestimated in most areas, including the Mediterranean,” UNESCO’s senior tsunami expert Bernardo Aliaga said, adding that there are still gaps in preparedness and efforts are being made to establish 12 tsunami-warning centers within the scope of preparation.

According to Tayfun Kahraman, the head of the Earthquake Risk Management Department of the municipality, a tsunami was not a reality in Türkiye for a long time.

“However, the earthquake in İzmir [that happened on Oct. 30, 2020] reminded us of it,” Kahraman said.

Microzoning is a tactical planning tool that can create flexibility in zoning plans and define unique conditions for a specific site.

Kahraman said, as a precaution against tsunami, microzoning activities continue in five districts in Istanbul.

“The Anatolian side [of Istanbul] has been completed. On the European side, we have some deficiencies in the Beylikdüzü district, but we will overcome them,” he said.

The expert also pointed out that an early warning system will be on the move before a tsunami and the system was designed jointly with Kandilli Earthquake Observatory Center and Istanbul’s gas distribution company, İGDAŞ, an affiliate of the metropolitan municipality.

According to data obtained by the expert, some 17 out of the city’s all 39 districts could be affected by the tsunami.

Until now, a total of 100 tsunami signs have been installed in these 17 coastal districts.

“We also have some estimations for some 961 neighborhoods of the province,” he added.

“Landslide activities for our districts in landslide areas are fully accessible to Istanbul residents,” he said. “Microzoning activities that will form a basis for planning in Istanbul will be completely finished in 2024.”

One of the deadliest earthquakes in history occurred in Portugal in 1755, creating a tsunami 6 meters high in Lisbon, the capital city, and Cádiz, Spain. Approximately 50,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake, and then the loss increased with fires and tsunami.

After an earthquake in Istanbul on Sept.14, 1509, many houses were submerged in the Galata neighborhood due to the tsunami.

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