Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tidal Wave was coming?

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There seems to be an element of confusion in NZ in regards to how the local councils and Civil Defence handled the warning yesterday that a tidal wave was expected to hit.

I heard the news up here at about 945 am local time PST and promptly called family and friends that lived or live close to the water. I had a couple of people evacuate their waterfront apartments, a couple and their dog took a drive inland and another friend promptly put his wife, children and beloved alsation into the car and was driving up MT Eden until the threat was dropped.

I am glad that nothing happened, but who is responsible for waking up people in the middle of the night if there is a threat. Surely Kiwi's cant rely on people overseas ringing up to see if they are ok?

What is the Civil Defence's policy? Who makes the call and where do you go?

We are all lucky nothing happened, but it certainly gets you thinking, because it can happen at any time without warning. What is your plan if a earthquake, volcano, or tidal wave hits?

17 comments:

Rymann said...

Rob, I think Lynn from Tawa was on standby to call everyone in Auckland to warn them, and was just waiting for Telecom's $5 weekend rates to start.

Rob Good said...

Well I hope that issues are addressed so that when something really happens NZ will know what to do.
Lynn can only call one person at a time.

Mike J. Stark said...

Based on current civil defense warnings we have several options. (1) Drown (2) Fry to a crisp (3) get crushed or (4) get a 24/7 contact at the civil defense bureau

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

The NZ Civil Defence response appears to be woeful, and the Minister himself has said that big improvements are needed.

And Rob - thanks again for the phone call :-)

tonyc said...

I only found out driving to work on the car radio. Makes me wonder HOW sleeping households would be warned if, like me, no-one phoned from abroad. We haven't got air-raid sirens atop power poles (indeed, most suburbs don't even have power poles anymore). Hey Rob, this unit you sold me, possibly tens of metres above sea level, might just be my lifesaver.

Andrew said...

The civil defence part at the back of the Yellow Pages used to say, "If you see a tsunami coming it's too late to run."

Rob Good said...

Tony, unless it was the mother of all waves, you should be fine in your nice comfortable apartment that I did indeed sell you. I bet it has doubled in price by now. Now Andrew, what were we taught in school to do if the tide disappears?

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

The rule of thumb is 35m above sea level and 1 km inland plus to be on the safe side.

Mike J. Stark said...

I find it interesting that we all heard from family and friends from overseas other than anyone in NZ. The Gisbourne mayor heard about the warning when watching CNN (what he was doing at 3am?)

Cactus Kate said...

Rob

Thanks for the warning via another party who heard it from the source.

Fortunately I no longer have close friends that can afford coastal property so I did not worry. They were smart enough to sell out during the boom.

I am sure my family would have been looked after by civil defence so saw no need to call them.

Kate

Andrew said...

>Now Andrew, what were we taught in school to do if the tide disappears?

I don't know Rob. I must have been away from school that day. I think I'd start panicking.

t selwyn said...

As part of my mission to have sirens at 1pm on Anzac day I rang up the Auckland Civil Defence chief bureaucrat who said there were no sirens at all! I asked how on earth people were to be alerted in a tsunami situation and he said that police cars would drive around telling people! But, I said, why would policemen or anyone else go down to the waterfront area where they would be in danger to warn people - they would be killed too. No answer to that one. I suggested to him a system of sirens that could be tested every ANZAC day - he said it would cost a fortune. Negligent to the max. They are all, all of them, utterly hopeless.

Sirens can cost up to a $4k each and have a range of 5km in still air. Even if you needed 100 for Auckland the capital cost would only be $0.5m. It's small change really. But no one listens...

Rob Good said...

I think you are right. Sirens would be the best way of notifying the locals when there was a wave on route. It is beyond me as to why the Govt has not got these in place. Hopefully now they will do.

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Tim, that's such a good point I'm going to pass that onto our councillors. I doubt you would need 100 for Auckland City (perhaps including the other TLAs you would) but even if only 50 were needed, its chump change for a city.

Rob Good said...

Well get onto it Aaron... That will be a good project for you.....

t selwyn said...

Go for it Aaron! The cost-benefit ratio is positive. I'll put it onto the ACC annual plan submission too.

Rob Good said...

Excellent