THE National Earthquake Network have calculated that if the south coast of Spain happened to be hit again by a tsunami, such as the one that happened in 1755 in Cadiz and Huelva, then the authorities would only have 30 minutes to react and warn the population. Spain is not free from the danger of these big waves that could be generated by a seaquake, was the conclusion from the International Menendez Pelayo University which studies natural disasters. In fact, information at the National Geographic Institute shows that the country has been hit by 24 since 218 AD. This natural phenomenon last hit Spain on 27 May 2003, when an earthquake on the Algerian coast generated a small tsunami which raised the sea level by 15 centimetres in Mahon (Minorca) and in Palma. This in turn harmed and destroyed many boats. However, there has only ever been one tsunami classified as disastrous in the last 20 centuries, said the Director of the Earthquake Network, Emilio Carreño. This was on November 1 in 1755, when an earthquake, which reached 8.5 on the Richter scale, hit San Vicente in Portugal and ultimately left Lisbon in ruins and produced a 15 metre wave which killed 2'000 people on the Andalucian coastline. Modern buildings should be able to resist the force of a gigantic wave, added the specialist, such as was shown in Indonesia, where the bigger hotels remained standing whilst the smaller buildings were reduced to rubble by the force from the sea. “In reality, what we would have to do in a situation like this, is to go to a high floor of a modern building, because I think that the modern constructions can perfectly resist a tsunami”, said Carreño. The International Centre for Tsunami Information backs this claim. In one of their informative leaflets titled “The Big Waves”, it states that the highest floors in a modern building could serve as a “safe” refuge for those people who have not had time to abandon the coast. The National Earthquake Network, has discovered two areas of Spain which are exposed to the threat of a tsunami; on the Mediterranean coast and on the Atlantic coast (near Andalucia). These sources indicate that the Mediterranean coast will probably suffer from more tsunamis which are less intense, some of them will only be able to be detected by specialised earthquake equipment. The Atlantic coast, on the other hand, runs the risk of being hit by fewer earthquakes, but they will be much stronger than the those in the Mediterranean.


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