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Authors: Crescimbene, Massimo* 
Cerase, Andrea* 
La Longa, Federica* 
Amato, Alessandro* 
Title: In all shapes and colours: a research on tsunami risk perception: evidence from the cat-ingv pilot study
Issue Date: Sep-2018
Publisher: Mistral Service Anna Lo Presti Via Romagnosi, 28 98100 - Messina (Italy).
Keywords: Tsunami risk perception
Abstract: In order to better address tsunami risk perception and understanding by people living in coastal areas, the CAT – INGV; the Tsunami Alert Centre of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, promoted and carried out a pilot survey on a stratified sample of >1000 residents in coastal municipalities across two regions of southern Italy, historically threatened by seismogenic tsunami risk: Calabria and Apulia. The aforementioned general objective of this pilot study may be splitted into four strategic goals: 1) to get data on citizens knowledge and characterization of tsunamis; 2) to assess how they perceive the risk posed by tsunami both in the Mediterranean and in their areas; 3) to identify the most appropriate channels and techniques to effectively spread alert messages; 4) to improve the strategic planning of scientific communication, risk communication and mitigation strategies of CAT-INGV, as well provide helpful insight to develop a dedicated website. According to a deeply-held belief, tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea are purported to be very rare. Unfortunately, this belief is definitely untrue: as reported by optimistic sources, at least 2,000 of the 80,000 victims of the great earthquake in Messina (1908) have been killed by the tsunami that followed earthquake (Boschi et al. 1995). More recently, in 1956, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred close to the Cycladic island of Amorgos (Greece) triggered large waves that also hit coasts of Amorgos, Astypalaia and Folegandros, with run-up values of respectively 30, 20, and 10 mt. (Okal et al., 2009). More recently, a relatively small tsunami caused by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in 2003 in Boumerdes (Algeria) hit the Western Mediterranean coast causing damage properties in at least eight harbours in Balearic Islands, in addition to the over 2500 casualties due to building collapses along Algerian coasts (Velaet al. 2011). In 2017 two smaller tsunamis occurred in Dodecanese, creating minor damages to vessels and small boat at berth in the ports and vehicles closer to the shore. Since such events are just a little part of the over 290 historically known events occurred in the Mediterranean (Maramai, Brizuela & Graziani, 2014) geo-scientists should recall citizens that tsunamis are everything but impossible and that tsunami may come in all shapes and colours, so that even a small event can result in serious damages and loss of life (such as dragging into the sea both childrens and adult persons). In such a scenario, risk communication about Mediterranean Tsunami may represent a challenging enterprise. According to previous research people have little knowledge about tsunamis, and they are also likely to underestimate both probability and consequences of such events. Moreover, their understanding of tsunami dynamic is significantly affected by media coverage (and social imagery) of big events such as the 2004 Sumatra Tsunami and the 2011 Tohoku Tsunami (Astarte, 2014). Other research demonstrated that despite the relevance of tsunami in Japanese history and culture, the alleged preparedness of Japanese people is frequently affected by serious misunderstanding and underestimation of catastrophic potential (Oki and Nakayachi, 2012). Given these premises, the very first data of the research, which is actually in progress, provide very interesting insights about the way people face with tsunami risk, their idea of event possible impacts and their expectation about Civil Protection and Scientific Institutions, both in terms of risk communication and mitigation measures. Data from such a research may provide a relevant framework for geo-scientists’ approach to public engagement, since scientists and research institutions must carefully shape their messages, relying on well-researched principled practices rather than on good intuition (Bostrom, & Löfstedt, 2003). The questionnaire is organized into six main sections: socio-demographic data and information on respondents’ territory; knowledge and sources of information on tsunami risk; contextual perception of risk posed by tsunamis; social representations of tsunami; role of cultural attitudes and worldviews; messages and channels to be used for tsunami early warning. Interviews have been administered between April and May 2018. During the ESC session in Malta, a complete account of most relevant data will be presented and discussed, in order to provide a comprehensive framework of methods, techniques and empirical evidence.
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