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Council launches tsunami evacuation routes

3 Mar 2020

Council launches tsunami evacuation routes

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Tairāwhiti residents must be prepared for a tsunami generated by a major earthquake just off the East Cape, says Mayor Rehette Stoltz.

The Hikurangi subduction zone, where the Pacific plate subducts (dives underneath) the Australian plate, is the most active fault line in New Zealand.

Council is launching the Gisborne city evacuation routes and tsunami inundation modelling for the Tairāwhiti region tonight in response to this risk.

A series of drop-in sessions and roadshow meetings will be held over the coming months. The first drop-in sessions will be held at the HB Williams Memorial Library every Tuesday at 5.30pm until the end of the month.

Council’s principal scientist Dr Murry Cave says residents being informed is key to surviving a 10-15m tsunami inundation generated by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in the Hikurangi subduction zone.

Public information sessions will focus on the lessons learnt from past tsunami events around the world. 

Dr Cave says Tairāwhiti has not experienced a major tsunami such as those in Japan and South East Asia, those events demonstrated the widespread impact of tsunami on communities.  

“Tairāwhiti is probably the part of New Zealand that would be most affected by such a tsunami and we need to be prepared.”

Mayor Rehette Stoltz says the event which may take place in our lifetime or that of our children is a key priority for Council.

“We are all in the same boat and we need to prepare ourselves, our families, loved ones and our community. Remember, if it’s long and OR strong, get gone and self-evacuate.”

The tsunami inundation assessment report and updated tsunami inundation zones are available here on our website