Friday, 31 October 2014

Disaster preparation in Wellington

Tsunami lines for eastern suburbs
Tsunami escape routes and safety markers will soon be commonplace for Miramar Peninsula residents as part of Wellington's emergency preparations.

Tsunami lines

LINED UP: Wellington Regional Council Emergency Management Office's Jason Paul with the new tsunami warning line at Worser Bay.

23 October, 2014

Blue warnings are being painted on peninsula roads over the next few weeks.

Jason Paul, an adviser with the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office, said that in a worst case scenario a tsunami up to 35 metres high might come through Wellington Heads and into the harbour, affecting Miramar and the surrounding area.

"It's just going to come up and keep going," he said.

"It will go up through the heads and into the harbour. It'll go up over the land into Miramar.

"The whole harbour will fill up, to some extent."

The placement of the lines was decided after consultation with the local communities.

Jason said tsunamis had affected the area before.

The 1855 earthquake centred in Palliser Bay created a tsunami which reportedly sent a 5-metre wave over the Rongotai isthmus.

In an extreme event, seawater could also come through Breaker Bay's Pass of Branda into Seatoun, although that is not likely.

For that reason, there will not be a blue line on the road at the pass.

Instead, blue arrows will point people towards walking tracks on both sides of the road at the top of the pass.

The lines, which were trialed first in Island Bay in 2010, are being painted progressively over the next few weeks in Miramar, Seatoun, Strathmore, Moa Point, Breaker Bay, Karaka Bay and around Shelley Bay.

Local residents have welcomed the initiative.

Heidi Holmes, owner of dog grooming salon Lush Puppies in Miramar, said they were a good idea. They would be a talking point for children and families.

"It's good that people know where to go in the event of an emergency," she said.

"There's going to be enough confusion and chaos if there is an emergency. At least that part's eliminated for us."

She said the lines were only a short way from the shop and she was pleased to know where she, her son, her staff and the dogs would have to go to be safe.

Holmes said she had told her staff to load the dogs in the cars and get up the hill.

Gerard Morrison and Dr Dale Nelson, who live in Seatoun, said they were relieved to know they were only 300 metres from safety, even though they are close to the sea.

Morrison said he was pleased the council was painting the signs, because they raised awareness.

The next phase of the project, which is expected to be completed by next June, will involve Hataitai, Greta Point and Roseneath.

Blue lines will probably be painted in the CBD in the 2016 financial year.

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