Tsunami would hit thousands
Thousands of people at popular beaches to the north of Auckland would be at risk if a tsunami struck in summer, a report shows.
The Auckland Tsunami Community Exposure Analysis report, commissioned by Auckland Council, identified which communities had the greatest population exposure in the region’s tsunami evacuation areas.
Eight of the 10 most affected areas were in the Rodney, Hibiscus and Bays and DevonportTakapuna local board areas. The areas looked at in the report were in Auckland’s existing orange and red tsunami evacuation zones, which are largely low-lying coastal areas.
Based on the worst-case scenario modelled in the report - a fine summer’s day - the community with the highest exposure is Orewa with 6521 people within the evacuation area. Albany ward councillor and deputy chair of the Civil Defence Defence and Emergency Management Committee John Watson said north Auckland should be a ‘‘prime target’’ for funding allocated for public alerting systems, if it were distributed. He said Auckland Council had $2.72 million in capital funding in the Long Term Plan for public alerting systems.
‘‘The report is now going to be consulted on with local boards across Auckland. These local boards should hopefully request that this funding be used in areas of most acute vulnerability.’’
Watson said sirens as warnings were one of the most effective means of outdoor mass notifications but needed to be used in conjunction with other methods like texts and social media.
‘‘It’s not so theoretical now, with Christchurch and Kaikoura and some of these big tsunamis that have happened overseas. People are a lot more aware. It’s not so much a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’.’’ Tsunami sirens are installed in the north at Omaha, Point Wells, Whangateau and Waiwera. These communities rank third, 48th, 100th, and 40th on the list of most affected communities.
According to the Auckland Civil Defence website, the selected sites are populated locations up to 10 metres from sea level. The other communities ranked in the top 10 were Omaha and Paremoremo West from Rodney, Silverdale Central and Stanmore Bay East, from Hibiscus and Bays, and Mt Victoria and Stanley Bay from Devonport-Takapuna.
Kingi Herewini plays ‘‘anything that’s not netball or soccer’’.
Orewa tops the list of beaches at risk.