Katie Mansfield — Daily Express March 27, 2017
“La Gran Ola” warns the monster wave in the Gulf of Cadiz could devastate the coast of Huelva and Cadiz and leave more than 1,200 dead.
Unable to pinpoint the date of the tsunami, experts say alarm systems must be put in place in order to save lives.
The tsunami hotspot has been identified by experts, with the Gulf of Cadiz sitting on a major plate boundary posing a huge risk to coastal areas.
Begona Perez, Head of the Division of Oceanography of Spanish Ports, said: “The question is not whether there will be another tsunami, but when will it happen.”
Luis Matias, Researcher of Tectonic and Seismic Risk at the Dom Luiz Institute in Portugal, said: “In the Gulf of Cadiz, several faults could cause an earthquake any time.”
Director Fernando Arroyo suggests the Great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 which sparked a tsunami killing more than 10,000 people could be repeated.
He said: “The only reality is that no scientist in the world can claim that it will not be repeated in the short term because there are no indicators in the area.”
The director says if the tsunami was of a similar size of the Great Lisbon disaster the huge wave could travel for miles without hitting any obstacles for 20 minutes and cause huge devastation.
He said: “It would affect hundreds of thousands of people and cause very high economic losses.
“For days, large areas could not be evacuated, there would be no electricity, no communications, no water, and entire cities such as Cadiz would have to be evacuated.”
Maria Belon, a survivor of the devastating Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 whose story and family provided the inspiration for the film The Impossible, said: “That giant wave is already on its way. We don’t know when it will get here.”
Spanish officials are also urged to secure a warning system to save lives before the tsunami hits.
Mr Arroyo said: “What will happen when the tsunamis that in the past have ravaged the coasts of Spain and Portugal reoccur?
“Here, as in the Indian Ocean before 2004, we do not want to talk about this for fear of the consequences for tourism.”
He said Spain and Portugal must create “the best possible detection and alert system, because the current one does not confirm the arrival of a wave until it reaches the shore”.
Emilio Carreno, Director of the National Seismic Network said: “Some people won’t be saved because if you don’t have higher ground where you can go, you can’t do anything.”
Antonio Pazos, head of the Seismology Service of the Royal Navy Observatory: “If it happened, how many people would there be in the coast of Huelva and Cadiz?”
Mario Lopes, Professor at Technical Superior Institute in Lisbon, said: “Politicians know about the seismic risk and they know it can be reduced, but they do nothing.”