THE leader of the Balearic Government, Jaume Matas, flew to Minorca yesterday to inspect the widespread damage caused by Thursday night's rissaga or meteotsunami which hit Ciutadella and gave assurances that the victims can count on the local authority's full support. The sea surge of around four metres sunk around 100 boats and destroyed many more. A number of shops and restaurants in the port were also flooded and a number of cars were swept away. Matas spent yesterday morning meeting those affected by the catastrophe to learn about their situation, visited the port and saw the damage caused by the surge. He also spoke to the residents and service sectors who had worked all night to recover boats and vehicles and pull them out of the water.
Inititial estimates claim that nine million euros worth of damage was caused. Matas announced that he had agreed with Ciutadella council to make an inventory of the damage and, once that is done, put a series of measures in place so that those affected by the surge, especially professionals and fishermen, could get back to normal. The phenomenon locally knows as Sa Rissaga happens a few times every year, normally around the Full Moon. Oceanographers have established that these sudden drops and rises in sea level are common in the Mediterranean where the daily tides are small. The experts say that the phenomenon is very similar to seismic tsunamis, hence they are also referred to as meteotsunamis. Apart from here in the Balearics, they are common in Sicily, where they are known as marrubbio and Malta where the phenomenon is referred to as the milghuba.
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