Civil Defence banner image

Workshop for catastrophic planning on this week

Tuesday 6 June, 2023

It’s called a CATPLAN – and by the end of this week, it’ll be 70 per cent complete.

A CATPLAN is the regional catastrophic plan for Te Tairāwhiti based around a Magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami off the Hikurangi Subduction zone off the East Coast.

It’s being developed at a three-day workshop that starts tomorrow.

Tairāwhiti Emergency Management Manager Ben Green says it’s an ambitious target to get a CATPLAN 70 per cent complete in that time.

“I believe a three-day sprint with all the right people in the same room can achieve a solid plan for our region that is 70 per cent complete.
“Obviously we cannot plan fully for an event that hasn’t happened yet, however there are many things we can put in place ahead of time.”

Mr Green says the plan will outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved to reduce risk and prepare for, respond and recover from emergencies.

“Cyclone events are severe weather events whereas a Hikurangi magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami presents a catastrophic scenario based on the level of damage and impact across multiple regions.

“The plan provides the basis for the coordination of all agencies who are part of the initial stage of response both at national and regional levels.

“This means actions can be undertaken immediately given we have a plan.

“In short – the emergency response planning will make sure we all know what to do.”

Mr Green says this week’s planning hui follows the Hikurangi M9 workshops last year where scientists and tsunami experts visited our region to share information about the Hikurangi faultline science and disaster response planning.

In 2021, GNS released an updated risk advisory that highlighted there is a 25 per cent chance of a significant event in the Hikurangi subduction zone in the next 25 years.

“These are considerable odds.”

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also held planning workshops at Parliament last year where a draft national CATPLAN plan was developed.

“NEMA has shared this with us as we develop our regional plan.”

We will let our community know the outcome of this three-day event, says Mr Green.

“Part of being ready for any emergency is making sure our community is aware of what to do, where to go and be reassured that those who will help them have a plan.

“The ability to be able to think on your feet during these catastrophic events to reduce the loss of life is part of what makes someone a first responder.

“Being able to bring together first responders and community partners to plan brings huge benefits for our community.”

Keep up to date with Tairāwhiti Emergency Management on their Facebook Page or visit their page on Council’s website to sign up for warnings.