Thousands at risk if tsunami hit
Thousands of people at popular beaches in 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 were largely low-lying coastal areas.
The report modelled three scenarios, including day, night and a fine summer’s day. The last of
‘‘People are a lot more aware. It's not so much a matter of 'if', it's a matter of 'when'.’’
John Watson, Albany ward councillor
which was considered the worst case and was how the communities were ranked.
Based on the worst-case scenario modelled in the report - a fine summer’s day - the community with the highest exposure was Orewa with 6521 people within the evacuation area. Te Henga (Bethells Beach) was ranked eighth, with 1236 people within the evacuation area.
Councillor and deputy chair of the Civil Defence Defence and Emergency Management Committee John Watson said Auckland Council had $2.72 million in capital funding in the Long Term Plan for public alerting systems.
‘‘I think a tsunami warning system in Browns Bay and elsewhere is highly desirable,’’ Watson said.
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.
‘‘Browns Bay and the other top-ranking areas, they should be the first cabs off the rank,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not so theoretical now, with Christchurch and Kaikoura and some of these big tsunami 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’.’’
Twelve tsunami sirens were installed in the Waitakere region.
In Waitakere, they are at Bethells and Te Henga (8th), Piha (24th) Karekare (97th), Te Atatu (158th), Herald Island (90th), and Hobsonville Airbase.
They are also at Huia and Little Huia, Whatipu and Westpark Marina which do not feature in the study.