50 experts in earthquake emergency management from the Civil Protection Authorities, other ministries and organisations in Turkey, the Mediterranean and Western Balkan countries will participate from 22 to 28 November in three events in Italy organized by the 5-million Euro EU-funded Programme on Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters (PPRD South).
The seven-day visit to Italy will start with the workshop on 'Earthquakes' in Rome which will serve to compare approaches, tools and policies for properly managing the risk of such disasters that have caused more than 140,000 victims and nearly 60 billion € damage in the Mediterranean in the past 100 years.
The workshop will be followed by a study visit to the city of L’Aquila hit in 2009 by a severe earthquake. Post-emergency recovery issues will be reviewed, followed by practical examples. During the last three days participants will be involved in the EU funded “Tuscany Earthquake Relief Exercise” (TEREX 2010) in Lucca where the coordination of international earthquake response capacities and the efficiency of European search and rescue teams will be thoroughly tested.
The workshop in Rome starting on 22 November will be opened by Franco Gabrielli, the newly appointed Head of the Italian Civil Protection Department. Establishing solid partnerships with the scientific sector for properly evaluating the seismic risk in the countries concerned will be one of the main topics on the agenda. Existing earthquake monitoring systems in the various Partner Countries will be reviewed along with the different seismic zoning criteria in use in the Euro-Mediterranean countries. Progress made in the enforcement of proper anti-seismic building standards to protect and save lives as well as the growing importance of awareness raising initiatives to ensure appropriate and correct behaviour by the population during an earthquake will also be highlighted.
Earthquakes are the most destructive among the natural disasters in the Mediterranean. Since 226 BC, when a famous earthquake stroke Rhodes and destroyed the Colossus, the history of the Mediterranean is marked by such disasters. To quote just the most disrupting ones, it is recorded that in May 526 an earthquake hit Syria and Antioch in the Byzantine Empire and killed about 250,000 people. The Golan earthquake of 749 completely destroyed the cities of Tiberias, now in Israel, and Pella, now in Jordan, and severely damaged the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Another earthquake in 1303 in Crete triggered a major tsunami that devastated Alexandria in Egypt. In 1693 Sicily and Malta were struck as Mount Etna erupted and destroyed 45 towns and cities causing over 60,000 deaths. The Messina earthquake and tsunami in 1908 cost some 70,000 lives in southern Italy. From the 1960 Agadir earthquake that killed around 15,000 people, about a third of the population of this Moroccan city, to the recent 1999 İzmit earthquake that killed around 17,000 people in Turkey, they all point out the specific problem of inadequately constructed houses in seismic zones.
At the end of this seven-day event the participants will have developed a deeper understanding of seismic risk mitigation options and be able to identify priorities for action and select the key tools and measures to reduce the impact of potential earthquakes in their respective countries.
Contact: Alessandro Candeloro, +39 349 0850931, firstname.lastname@example.org
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