Expert body urges Malta to be on look-out for earthquakes and tsunamis

Photo for representational purpose. Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

Highlighting the possible impact of an earthquake in France or Greece, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) executive secretary Lassina Zerbo urged Malta to improve its facilities to monitor the tsunamis.

The international body has said that the Island country has taken its protection from natural disasters lightly till now. The comments were made while a CTBTO delegation was visiting Malta for encouraging the government to set up a 24/7 monitoring system.

Zerbo, according to a report in Times of Malta, stated: “The last tsunami in this region dates back to 1908 – that is long ago, but you never know when a tsunami will hit.”

The 1908 tsunami in Malta was a result of a 7.4 Richter scale earthquake in Messina, Sicily which killed around 200,000 people.

According to various experts, the South-Eastern side of Mt Etna in Sicily is now vulnerable and can collapse in the sea suddenly causing a tsunami in the Mediterranean.

Historical evidence collected by Scientists also suggests that huge waves reaching 20 metres in height swept over Malta in a tsunami that occurred thousands of years ago.

While the University of Malta has a seismic monitoring and research group, Zerbo stated that it is not functional 24/7. “What Malta needs is a system that works,” he was quoted as saying.

The CTBTO has its own international monitoring system distributed around the globe. Calling Malta a ‘tsunami-genic’ zone, he said that it was crucial for the country to have its own centre.

“This will allow people to save lives, instead of being surprised by the tsunami. We never anticipate. We deal with crises better than we anticipate them,” Mr Zerbo added, noting this was human nature,” he said.

CTBTO has also trained individuals in Malta to help them in continuous monitoring work. Zerbo added that the response from the authorities seemed positive and he hopes that they will join hands to gather the best data.