Tsunami Exercise In New Zealand

By Naiwrita Sinha, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NEW ZEALAND (Gaea Times.com) New Zealand is all set to test its tsunami response skills today in an exercise named Tangaroa. The exercise conducted on Wednesday morning was a valuable exercise for Wanganui’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). More than a 100 agency were supposed to take part in the exercise, which seeks to improve their ability to respond to a real tsunami threat. Director of Civil Defense Emergency Management, John Hamilton said that the exercise is a way of testing and evaluating their national tsunami response mechanism on all levels. The exercise included the evacuation of the eastern coastal area of New Zealand, the area which is most prone to damage in case of a major earthquake in South America leading to a tsunami.

In words of the officials, the tsunami response exercise highlighted the importance of working together in a real situation with other agencies such as defense and health. Civil Defense Manager, Max Benseman spoke about the next most important step in Tsunami planning, which he defined as making contact with the people in the affected areas. He said that the more they prepare for the disasters now, the more ready they will be in case of an actual event.

Code named ‘Tangaroa’, the exercise started with a full alert on Wednesday morning, with warning of an “eight-meter tsunami” approaching them, caused by a major earthquake in Peru. The tsunami was expected to hit the New Zealand coast by early evening on Wednesday. The evacuations were reportedly planned for midday today. The residents in the affected area would be notified and asked to evacuate the place.

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