Too many un­pre­pared for nat­u­ral disas­ter

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

The re­sults of a na­tional sur­vey which have just been re­leased show the num­ber of Waikato res­i­dents pre­pared for a disas­ter has grown sig­nif­i­cantly but still re­mains too low.

Ac­cord­ing to the Col­mar Brun­ton re­search, over a third (34 per cent) of Waikato res­i­dents are pre­pared at home – an in­crease of 13 per cen­t­age points since last year – and 57 per cent have an emer­gency plan for when at home, up from 47 per cent last year.

Mean­while, the num­ber of Waikato peo­ple who have emer­gency sur­vival items has in­creased from 80 per cent to 86 per cent.

Waikato Civil De­fence emerg- ency man­age­ment group chair­man Hugh Ver­coe said it was good to see im­prove­ments in some of the num­bers but ac­knowl­edged there was still some way to go.

‘‘ What re­cent events have shown is that a disas­ter can strike at any time of the day or night, so there is a need to be pre­pared – not just for when you’re at home.

‘‘Only 12 per cent of Waikato res­i­dents are fully pre­pared for an emer­gency when at home and away, which is be­low the na­tional av­er­age of 18 per cent,’’ said Mr Ver­coe, also the mayor of Mata­mata-Pi­ako District.

‘‘In terms of disas­ter aware­ness, it is also con­cern­ing that Waikato res­i­dents are less likely than av­er­age to say that a tsunami will oc­cur dur­ing their life­time, given there’s new data in­di­cat­ing the risk of tsunami im­pact­ing the east coast of the Coro­man­del is higher than pre­vi­ously un­der­stood,’’ he said.

‘‘We have recog­nised that more of our re­gion’s res­i­dents need to be bet­ter pre­pared for a disas­ter, which is why the five year draft plan we re­leased last month shows a com­mit­ment to pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in this re­gion.

‘‘Over­all, re­cent events here and over­seas mean there is height­ened aware­ness of the im­pacts an event might have, in­clud­ing dis­rup­tion to key ser­vices and the lack of ad­vance warn­ing we might get.’’ The sur­vey was car­ried out not long af­ter the dev­as­tat­ing quake in Christchurch and while there was still ex­ten­sive me­dia re­port­ing of the af­ter­shocks.

How­ever, a lower than av­er­age pro­por­tion of Waikato res­i­dents said the Christchurch earth­quakes prompted them to take steps to pre­pare for a disas­ter – 46 per cent com­pared with the na­tional av­er­age of 60 per cent. The Col­mar Brun­ton na­tional tele­phone sur­vey of 1164 re­spon­dents was car­ried out be­tween May 16 and June 12 to mea­sure disas­ter pre­pared­ness and to track the ef­fec­tive­ness of the na­tional Civil De­fence and Emer­gency Man­age­ment Get Ready Get Thru com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paign. The sur­vey has a max­i­mum mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3.1 per cent at the 95 per cent con­fi­dence level.

To read the sur­vey find­ings in full, visit the Min­istry of Civil De­fence and Emer­gency Man­age­ment: http:// www. civilde­fence.govt.nz/

You can keep up to date with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion by vis­it­ing www. face­book. com/ Waika­toCivilDe­fence or check­ing out www. waika­tore­gion cdemg.govt.nz.

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