Larnaca is the first coastal city in Cyprus which has sought preparations for possible tsunamis, the municipality announced on Wednesday, with the work scheduled for 2026 completion.

The endeavour will equip Larnaca with an early warning system and an evacuation plan for tsunamis, ensuring its best possible preparation through strategies for awareness, creation of relevant infrastructure, development of action plans and readiness to minimise loss of life.

The decision to designate Larnaca as “Tsunami Ready” follows its selection into the CoastWAVE initiative, which is coordinated and funded by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco. The city was selected for its low elevation and flat topography, which makes it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis.

“Larnaca is the first candidate Tsunami-Ready coastal community in the Mediterranean-North Atlantic region to use high-resolution local simulations for developing evacuation plans,” the municipality said in a written statement.

Among the main pillars supporting Larnaca’s preparation by the Geological Survey Department to respond to a tsunami evacuation risk are also the revision of the national disaster response plan of the interior ministry to include a specific tsunami plan.

The installation of signs throughout the risk zone, along with informative boards displaying evacuation maps and relevant instructions, has already begun and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Sirens will also be installed.

Larnaca has also undertaken extensive public awareness campaigns and educational programmes to educate residents about tsunami risks. As part of these efforts, various informational leaflets will be distributed to residents.

Local authorities expect that by 2026, Larnaca will receive the “Tsunami Ready” title from Unesco and will be as well-prepared as possible for the safety of its residents in the event of a tsunami impact.