Com­mu­ni­ties plan for next disas­ter

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SAM DUFF

Plim­mer­ton res­i­dents had to cut short their emer­gency man­age­ment meet­ing when the big earth­quake hit on Sun­day, July 22.

The sub­urb is one of sev­eral in the Kapi- Mana area work­ing with the Welling­ton Re­gional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice on a lo­cal civil de­fence plan.

Ti­tahi Bay is also go­ing through the process and lo­cals at­tended their lat­est meet­ing last Tues­day evening.

A group that in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from po­lice, fire, the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice and lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions gath­ered to dis­cuss what they would do fol­low­ing a disas­ter.

For many it was the first chance they had to re­flect on the quake.

Res­i­dent Judy Tuck said she had to com­fort crying strangers in the lo­cal Count­down store.

Ti­tahi Bay is the sec­ond Pori- rua com­mu­nity to work with the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice on a civil de­fence plan.

Pukerua Bay al­ready has a plan, and Plim­mer­ton has just started the process.

Rebecca Jack­son, the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice’s ad­viser, said com­mu­ni­ties needed a strat­egy for the three days af­ter a disas­ter, when they could be cut off.

‘‘All you have to do is go to the su­per­mar­ket over the last few days to see the empty shelves of wa­ter and tinned food. It shows how un­pre­pared peo­ple were,’’ she said.

Paula Birnie, from the Ti­tahi Bay Com­mu­nity Trust, said lo­cals needed to know what to do af­ter a disas­ter.

She said a sur­vey of res­i­dents fol­low­ing the June storm showed a lack of pre­pared­ness and a need for good com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

At the Ti­tahi Bay meet­ing peo­ple dis­cussed what to do with vic­tims’ bod­ies and aban­doned an­i­mals, and how to ac­cess food and wa­ter.

Trevor Farmer, Poriru­aKapiti’s emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice co-or­di­na­tor, said peo­ple needed to be self-suf­fi­cient and not rely on im­me­di­ate sup­port.

‘‘ It’s about what the com­mu­nity is go­ing to do for it­self,’’ he said.

‘‘For six, 12, 24 hours they need to be self-suf­fi­cient.’’

The Ti­tahi Bay group will con­tinue meet­ing and aim to have a plan in all house­holds by the end of Septem­ber.

Pukerua Bay lo­cals used their ‘‘ tele­phone tree’’ to check if neigh­bours were safe af­ter the earth­quake.

A tele­phone tree in­volves neigh­bours ring­ing those on a co-or­di­nated list to make sure ev­ery­body is safe.

Mr Farmer said the As­cot Park, Whitby and Pau­ata­hanui com­mu­ni­ties have ex­pressed in­ter­est in putting emer­gency plans to­gether.

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