Emergency Management Minister urges Kiwis to be 'tsunami-ready' this summer

It’s important to factor COVID-19 into your emergency planning, Kiri Allen says.
It’s important to factor COVID-19 into your emergency planning, Kiri Allen says. Photo credit: Getty/Newshub

Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan is urging Kiwis to be "tsunami-ready" over the holidays.

As Kiwis hit the beach for summer, Allen says it's important to be both sun smart and emergency ready.

"New Zealand's entire coastline is at risk of tsunami. That means most of us live near, or visit places that are at risk," Allan said.

Allen is urging people to remember the "Long or Strong, Get Gone" mantra.

"Most of the tsunami New Zealand experiences aren't large enough to flood land areas and cause major destruction. But that's no reason to be complacent.

"Even small tsunamis can generate strong currents and surges that could result in injury or death."

Local source tsunamis are generated close to the New Zealand coast and can arrive within minutes. 

Allen says it's essential for people to recognise the natural warning signs and act quickly, as in some instances, there may not be time to issue an official warning.

If you're near the coast, tsunami warning signs include:

  • Feeling a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • See a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • Hear loud and unusual noises from the sea.

Results from this year's annual disaster preparedness survey shows 85 percent of New Zealanders are aware they need to evacuate if they are near the coast and a long or strong earthquake happens.

"Make sure you check the local evacuation zones so if you have to evacuate, you know where to go," Allen said.

Local evacuation zones are available on Get Ready, a website operated by the National Emergency Management Agency that aims to educate people in responding to emergencies.

Allen says it's important to factor COVID-19 into your emergency planning by packing face masks in your holiday luggage and grab bag. 

Tsunami evacuations will override any "stay at home" COVID-19 restrictions.

"There is never a better time than now to learn more about your tsunami risk, know how to prepare and to update your plan to keep your whānau safe," Allan said.