I can personally confirm* – and I plead the 5th– that Riversdale has a working tsunami siren, as does Castlepoint. They were not activated in the hours following the recent major earthquake. If a tsunami had come, it is likely some people would have been hit by surprise. It is a major fail, and someone needs their pee-pee smacked.
In Hawkes Bay the alarms didn’t go off as they should have, and reporter Marty Sharpe in this article gave the Hawkes Bay Civil Defence Emergency Network (CDEM) a pasting for their clear incompetence.
The questions have not been asked in our local newspapers for our own CDEM but are so begging for a looksy I’m just going to indulge myself.
From anedoctal evidence which will be fact-checked with Masterton Council tomorrow the 17th it appears as though the local CDEM not only failed to alert people of Tsunami risk on time, they actually failed to do so at all… just like Hawkes Bay… only worse. Here is a brief run down of what happened at Hawkes Bay:
At 12.15am [13 mins after the quake] the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management team posted to Facebook “It was a land-based big quake near Hanmer in the South Island. Quite a long one but HB people have no reason to leave home.”
This was followed 15 minutes later with “Hi again all – please be advised that this was a land-based earthquake and so there is NO threat of tsunami”.
At 12.56am the national civil defence office advised that there was a tsunami threat to the east coast of the South Island and people there should get to higher ground. The office extended this warning to the east coast of the North Island at 1.21am.
At 2.30am the Hawke’s Bay CDEM changed its earlier advice and posted a message to Facebook stating:
“Please move to higher ground now. A tsunami alert has now been issued for the North Island including Hawke’s Bay. Please text coastal people and share this message”.
Despite issuing this warning, the Napier civil defence sirens were not activated.
Twenty-five minutes later there was another post on the CDEM Facebook page saying “The best information we have is that this is a beach warning: stay off the beaches and if you are in a low lying area near the beach move to higher ground. Individual coastal communities are being contacted if necessary and police are clearing campervanners etc off the beaches.”
But until at least 3.41am the national office was advising that “The tsunami warning will remain in place until a cancellation message is issued by us. The threat is real. Stay off beaches.”
Around 3.30am the local group began evacuating households from the areas in Haumoana, Te Awanga, Waimarama, Ocean Beach and Westshore. At about 5.30am those who evacuated were told they could return home.
Many locals have taken to social media to criticise the actions of the civil defence group over what appeared to be contradictory advice, and asking why the sirens were not used when the evacuation notice was issued at 2.30am
From what I am hearing the warnings spread person to person at the Wairarapa main beach resorts. Many did not find out until they woke and were alerted by neighbours. No sirens were heard at the time the national civil defence network raised the alarm. One person reported to me their partner received a “pager” alert. Yes, you heard correctly… the devices our great-grand parents used to sext each other many moons ago and who almost NO ONE owns now. lol.
[Update 18/11: Local CDEM claimed they did put the message out to get to high ground. I take issue with this. Twitter and Facebook…? Woopdeedo- most bach’s don’t have wifi. Why didn’t the sirens go off. You’ll have to try harder than that to explain your way out of this one]
I have have always been an- to a fault- enthusiastic fan of those join-the-dots childrens drawing activities, so it comes as little wonder to me a one Councillor Jonathan Hooker is in management at the Masterton Civil Defence office. The same man who:
- Botched the ballon festival and sent thousands of people home to Wellington with a sour taste in their mouth due to tits planning.
- Took numerous jaunts to China and returned no benefit to the community and who now pays for his own flights only after I raised the issue on my blog here last year, and who tried to charge me $400 dollars for my OIA request for expenses.
- Was heavily and is somewhat now involved with a church group who in a recent NZ Herald exclusive report was lumped in with the likes of Gloriavale and Destiny Church for their charlatan tithe grabbing at the the expense of disadvantaged people.
- Had the cheek to claim nothing was wrong with the $1m athletics track of which he was Trust Chair, when in fact serious financial mismanagement was taking place. Proceeded to try and charge $400 to give council answers that were demanded (Mayor Lyn Patterson told him to piss off and cough up). Ended up losing the track and was humiliated along with major election loser Mark Harris.
- Is known in American Indian circles by the moniker “Big Hat No Cattle”.
- Is known in Maori circles by the moniker “All Hui No Doey”.
- Has an unused open offer from me to him saying i’ll delete my entire blog, run naked around town once, and pay a weeks wages to a charity of his choice if he can prove one single thing I’ve said about him on this blog is false.
Yeah, ya don’t need a photocopied dots page to draw this picture do you.
The man is incompetent, and 3 days ago he placed hundreds of lives at risk. It pains me to say this, and he will probably take something deeper than is sensible from this, but it is only by the grace of god we didn’t see a Tsunami.
Should he not have done a bit of due diligence at his office to ensure systems were working as they should have? No doubt he will pass the blame and cite that isn’t his particular function at the CDEC but the new health and safety laws clearly state everyone top to bottom at an organisation has a high onus placed on them now to speak up when things are not right. I think he needs to be removed from his position.
[update 21/11- Spoke to local CDEC. They said the line that I’m taking here is pretty unfair. Apparently the sirens were physically removed from Riversdale last year by way of consensus vote in the community because they found them “annoying”. If that is true I question why strategic communications assets such as tsunami sirens are included in the usually lightweight spectrum of things the community actually has a say in. I mean, FFS.
Contact at CDEC said also that the “app” people can download ensures people get the message during a natural disaster… I would say yeah right to that though for a varity of reasons not least that people at the beach are usually out there to get away from work, phones, life and would likely have there phone packed away/on silent. A councillor at MDC has also sworn he was at a meeting in the last couple of months at Riversdale and that the sirens are there still. A huge amount of conflicting accounts going on here…]
As usual, silence from Jonathan”big hat no cattle” Hooker.
PS I wonder if he had anything to with the installation of the C.D gear at the beach… sparrows tell me very interesting things sometimes….
PPS Sam, Sam, Sam… tisk tisk tisk.
*So can Hunt and O’Sullivan.