NZ – Tsunami Civil Defense Exercise Supported by RRT Invercargill
In August and September 2016, over 100 Civil Defence agencies and other organisations throughout New Zealand participated in Exercise Tangaroa to test New Zealand’s preparations for, response to, and recovery from, a national tsunami impact. This exercise involved several hundred staff nationwide, and took place over three separate days throughout those months – it was based on the scenario of a regional source tsunami, generated by an earthquake in the Kermadec trench region and reaching New Zealand in under three hours. It was planned to allow organisations to identify gaps and flaws in their planning, and improve communication.
As part of this exercise, on 14th September Emergency Management Southland set up a simulated tsunami evacuation centre at the ILT Stadium, Invercargill.
With many ‘displaced and evacuated’ persons (some complete with their pets) seeking shelter for the day, as well as a large number of Civil Defence volunteers on site, this was the perfect opportunity for the world’s southernmost Rapid Relief Team to step in and provide refreshments for those in need.
Firstly, morning tea and hot drinks were served, followed by over 100 gourmet burgers for lunch and finished off with a selection of cakes and fresh fruit. The look on many faces and those that queued up for a second round confirmed the meal was a winning combination!
With most of Invercargill city situated at or near sea level, the occurrence of a tsunami is a tangible threat to the Invercargill community. Whilst all hope it doesn’t ever happen, there is a real need to be well prepared. This exercise was very beneficial to the Rapid Relief Team and to all that participated – we truly do not know what is around the corner, and it was great to have a bit of practice in case it does happen in reality! Learning to communicate across teams and organisations is vital in such situations and it was good to get to know some of the people involved.
Thank you to Sandra Miller and the team at Emergency Management Southland for involving our RRT Team in this exercise. It was a great pleasure to be of assistance and we look forward to helping out again.