World Tsunami Awareness Day makes its debut on the international calendar tomorrow, and the Bay of Plenty Emergency Management team are welcoming the chance to remind people to get prepared.
This Saturday they’re taking the opportunity to test their alert systems right across the region at 12pm.
Initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, New Zealand is one of 14 countries participating in the day.
Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Director Clinton Naude says tsunamis know no borders, therefore international, political and public understanding of risk reduction is extremely important.
“Tsunamis are rare events, but that very fact makes it vital to understand the risk and know what to do and where to evacuate before a wave strikes,” says Clinton.
“Testing our alert systems allows us to practice our activation procedures, ensure the systems are functioning correctly and helps to increase public awareness around responding to emergency events.”
Those registered for text alerts will receive a text not long after 12pm as part of Saturday’s test.
Those who haven’t registered can still visit the Civil Defence website to sign up for text alerts or email updates.
Saturdays test at 12pm will include:
• Text alerts
• Email updates
• Fixed sirens will also be tested in the eastern Bay of Plenty
To register for alerts, or for more information on how to get prepared, visit www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz or phone 0800 884 880.
WHAT IS WORLD TSUNAMI AWARENESS DAY?
World Tsunami Awareness Day was the brainchild of Japan, which due to its repeated, bitter experience has over the years built up major expertise in areas such as tsunami early warning, public action and building back better after a disaster to reduce future impacts.
Critically, tsunamis can also be extremely deadly. In the past 100 years, 58 of them have claimed more than 260,000 lives, or an average of 4,600 per disaster, surpassing any other natural hazard.
The majority of the population lives within 30 kilometres of the coast. The entire coastline of New Zealand’s is at risk of tsunami. A tsunami can violently flood coastlines, causing devastating property damage, injuries, and loss of life.
A tsunami is a natural phenomenon consisting of a series of waves generated when a large volume of ocean water is rapidly displaced. A tsunami can be caused by large submarine or coastal earthquakes; underwater landslides; large coastal cliff or lakeside landslides; or volcanic eruptions beneath the sea.