CÔTE D'AZUR & PROVENCE
When thinking about natural disasters, we usually don’t expect them to occur so close to home, particularly when we happen to be located in the South of France. Yet, the Cannes City Council decided to take a step towards protecting the population against the possibility of one of these disasters happening after specialists in tsunamis and marine submersion classified Cannes to be a zone at risk. More recently, on Tuesday, 25 August 2020, they tested an evacuation signalling system on the Allées de la Liberté to raise awareness on the procedures to take in the event of a tidal wave.
While aiming to adopt a prevention system to avoid all risks associated for a potential marine submersion or tsunami, the City Council also decided to involve the locals and residents in Cannes to raise awareness on the issue: “It is fundamental to anticipate, raise awareness and adapt to optimise our behaviour on the day the danger appears (…) everything starts with the citizen: knowing how to take shelter, helping one’s neighbour to protect themselves and, finally, facilitating the work of specialised services. In this sense, the Cannes City Council continuously updates the preventive actions,” declared David Lisnard, Cannes’ Mayor.
This new initiative, which is just another step taken since the Tsunami Alert Centre (CENALT) labelled Cannes as a zone at risk in 2018, had the objective to get the citizens’ opinion on the steps taken by the municipality. Brochures containing information regarding the significant risks were handed out. People were also encouraged to give their views on the new signal system to help the evacuation procedure.
This signalling system was an outcome of the City Council's commitment to optimiase their alert transmission chain between the public services and the population. The system essentially consists of two types of pictograms placed along the road from the ferry terminal to the SNCF train station. These visuals orient people towards the “refuge site,” situated outside of the risk zone, 200 meters from the coast, covering 2,300 m2 of space in front of the train station.
In the end, many preventive actions have been taken by the municipality, and these actions are being optimised as time goes by. So far, these preventions include: establishing a map of refuge area with the roads that indicate where it is located and installing equipment that help the communication between public services and the public (240 speakers are located in Cannes, including 160 in the risk zone.) Other measures include creating a messaging network that directly contacts the population through the “Cannes Alert” service if they’ve registered on the Cannes city’s official website.
Finally, the Cannes City Council also signed the charter to manage tsunami and marine submersion risks in Cannes. It also hosted the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and Connected Seas (ICG/SATANEM), in 2019.
- Charlotte Gillet