The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is warning New Zealand coastal communities that a tsunami is possible following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake near Chile at 19:34 New Zealand time yesterday.
If a tsunami has been generated, the first wave may arrive in New Zealand in the areas around the Chatham Islands at approximately 07:05 am 28 February 2010. The first wave may arrive later and may not be the largest. Waves may continue for several hours.
People in coastal areas should:
1. Stay off beaches
2. Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities)
3. Do not go sightseeing
4. Share this information with family, neighbours and friends
5. Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates
6. Follow instructions of your local Civil Defence authorities.
This warning has been issued to all local civil defence authorities, emergency services, other agencies and media.
Local civil defence authorities have been asked to activate local response arrangements and alert potentially at-risk communities as appropriate.
This Emergency Announcement was issued by the Civil Defence Emergency Management National Controller.
People can find practical information about what they can do to help themselves prepare for an emergency on the Ministry's 'Get Ready Get Thru' website
The Chatham Islands is the first part of the country expected to feel the effects of the predicted tsunami, with a wave of between one and three metres due between 7am and 7.30am. Residents have been evacuated to the local marae.
It is then expected to reach the east coast of the mainland, reaching Gisborne and East Cape about 8.30am, Wellington by 9am, Canterbury 9.30am, and Auckland 11am.
The Kaikoura District Council was basing its planning on the possibility of a one metre wave. The Peninsula Road was closed and staff are evacuating freedom campers from along the beach areas.
Staff are on standby to close SH1 north from Cheviot if required in coordination with police and the Marlborough District Council, Canterbury Civil Defence said.
Hurunui District Council Volunteers in coastal communities have been informing residents to stay away the beach.
Waimakariri District Council volunteers in coastal communities have been advising residents to stay off the beach and would focus their efforts on contacting people fishing at the Waimakariri River mouth.
Christchurch City Council staff were preparing for potential evacuation of low lying areas of Banks Peninsula from Teddington, south of Lyttelton to Akaroa. Shipping movements in Lyttelton port cancelled for the day.
Selwyn District Council Rakaia fishing competition organisers were informed at 0530 of the possible tsunami. There are approximately 700 competitors over the length of river and Ellesmere Search and Rescue are currently advising people to move from the river mouth.
Ashburton District Council coastal settlements have been advised of the possible tsunami. Rakaia search and rescue is currently at river mouth advising people to move inland and staff are working to approximately 1km upstream of mouth.
Timaru District Council Staff have been in contact with PrimePort and emergency contacts at coastal hut communities have advised of the threat.
Waimate District Council roading staff to put signs up on road to Waihao Box and are coordinating with the Waitaki District Council regarding any impact on the Waitaki River mouth.
In Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, Civil Defence have not recommended evacuation, but have warned people to keep away from all water based activities and not to go sightseeing on the coast.
In Hawke's Bay, about 80 people have fled from their homes in coastal settlements of Te Awanga and Haumoana, which emergency services expect to be hardest hit if a tsunami should eventuate today.
The residents "self-evacuated" to Haumoana school, where Hastings District Council has sent civil defence staff to assist.
Council spokeswoman Erin Harford said other residents were welcome to go to the school if they wished.
At Waimarama, impatient boat owners and fishermen eager to get started on a fishing competition today are being kept away from the boat launching ramp and warned to stay away from the beach.
Regional civil defence spokesman Drew Broadley said staff had been on duty since shortly after 2am today, and were keeping a close watch to see what happened at the Chatham Islands.
The predicted wave height of one metre posed no threat to Napier residents, so no general alert had been issued to them.
And while residents of Midway and Waikanae beaches near Gisborne were being evacuated, residents of a camping ground on the foreshore in the eastern Bay of Plenty, have been told they can return.
NZPA / 3 News
source: newshub archive