Poor­est are least pre­pared

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

Porirua res­i­dents are not ad­e­quately pre­pared for a ma­jor dis­as­ter, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by the newly formed Welling­ton Re­gion Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice.

In a briefing to Porirua City Coun­cil last week, WREMO’s man­ager Bruce Pep­perell and Porirua/Kapiti co-or­di­na­tor Trevor Farmer out­lined the re­sults of the sur­vey which was car­ried out face-to-face with more than 900 par­tic­i­pants in the re­gion.

The data high­lighted that Hutt Val­ley and Kapiti res­i­dents were the most pre­pared for a dis­as­ter to strike.

The find­ings in Porirua were‘‘ dis­ap­point­ing’’, Mr Pep­perell said.

Just 20 per cent of Wai­tan­girua, Kenepuru, Els­don, Taka­puwahia and Ti­tahi Bay res­i­dents are sat­is­fied their houses will sur­vive a ma­jor earth­quake.

In all sub­urbs, about 20 per cent of res­i­dents have fur­ni­ture fas­tened.

Wa­ter stor­age – rec­om­mended 15 litres per per­son per day for 10 days – is poor­est in Whitby, with 40 per cent ad­mit­ting to not hav­ing enough stored if wa­ter is cut off.

30 per cent of Els­don, Kenepuru, Taka­puwahia and Ti­tahi Bay homes have buck­ets and toi­let pa­per for use as an emer­gency toi­let.

A pos­i­tive sign, 50 per cent of Porirua work­places have emer­gency plans in place, but Welling­ton – 70 per cent – com­fort­ably leads this cat­e­gory.

Wor­ry­ingly, less than 30 per cent of Wai­tan­girua, Els­don, Taka­puwahia and Ti­tahi Bay res­i­dents have ar­range­ments in place to meet fam­ily af­ter a dis­as­ter strikes.

‘‘Many of us live in one part of the re­gion, work in an­other, and some­times have our chil­dren some­where else. Ev­ery­one needs to have plans in place,’’ Mr Pep­perell said.

Pre­vi­ous re­search from Col­mar Brun­ton showed Welling­ton was bet­ter- pre­pared than other re­gions but the WREMO sur­vey is of con­cern, he said.

Many res­i­dents in lower so­cioe­co­nomic sub­urbs have fewer ‘‘pre­pared­ness en­ablers’’, such as torches and first-aid kits, due to the ex­pense.

‘‘You would not be­lieve the costs for things out there, things that peo­ple need to sur­vive.

‘‘Sixty dol­lars for a good torch is ridicu­lous,’’ Mr Pep­perell said.

The sur­vey will be pre­sented by WREMO to the re­gion’s may­ors this week.

Rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and the be­lief that ‘‘ fresh ways are re­quired to en­gage with com­mu­ni­ties on pre­pared­ness mat­ters’’.

Sur­vival tools should be more af­ford­able and pro­moted in a way that en­cour­ages peo­ple to buy them.

The per­cep­tion that civil de­fence is an emer­gency ser­vice and re­spon­si­ble for search and res­cue needed to be cor­rected, Mr Pep­perell said.

‘‘ We’re semi- au­ton­o­mous, we rep­re­sent nine coun­cils but it is im­por­tant we are not cap­tured by one.

‘‘We have a staff of 20 that will sup­port 500,000 peo­ple, but we are the glue that will pro­vide a sys­tem to em­power peo­ple to deal with emer­gen­cies.

‘‘There will be man­agers in all parts of the re­gion and we have a very flex­i­ble ap­proach.’’

He and the WREMO team are avail­able to talk to or­gan­i­sa­tions, work­places and schools.

Mr Farmer said res­i­dents’ groups in Ranui, Plim­mer­ton, Pukerua Bay and Ti­tahi Bay were putting ef­fec­tive emer­gency plans in place but he urged coun­cil­lors to get the mes­sage out.

What a hit: Jonte Ta­pu­rau says he prefers to play ‘‘any­thing but rock [mu­sic]’’. The Omega set pic­tured is his to keep af­ter win­ning a drum-off at the Bat­tle of the Bands.

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