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The risk of a tsunami in the Mediterranean Sea, whose waters are almost completely enclosed by land, calls for preparation, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) warned.

The risk of tsunamis, Ms Ryabinin added, is underestimated by authorities in the Mediterranean area, and that is what Tsunami Ready, an EU-backed project, aims to tackle.

Launched on the Greek island of Kos in 2020, following a small tsunami in 2017, it is committed to making coastal communities the world-over tsunami-resilient.

Some 40 coastal areas across 21 countries are currently recognised by UNESCO as tsunami-ready – a status that will be at the forefront of talks at the UN Ocean Summit in Lisbon on June 27.

He added: “Many of them are vulnerable areas and need to be prepared when faced with this threat.”

Effective coordination between research communities and security and emergency services is crucial in order to respond adequately, Mr Aliaga stressed.

The terrain and vegetation in the area are key elements in the design process of the programmes to help cope with the potential arrival of a tsunami, which, though a rare event, could be deadly.

In the past 100 years, 58 tsunamis have claimed more than 260,000 lives, or an average of 4,600 per disaster, surpassing any other natural hazard.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega