Wellingtion Region Faultline maps

This map — source — shows that known faults exist around Waikanae and despite all the studies, there is simply no way of knowing when a big quake could occur.   The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office-organised meeting’s principal message was that getting to know what people and material resources are near where you are is key preparedness.  In fact, it is an integral part of the Neighbourhood Watch principle (see earlier).

by Sue Lusk

This was a REALLY valuable discussion, hosted in lovely Michelle’s warm and comfortable Community Emergency Hub because the Beach hall was unavailable — thank you Michelle, you were a star and demonstrated the quick thinking and cooperation that will be required of all of us in an emergency!

Scott from Wellington Region Emergency Management Office made a very challenging presentation dealing with the change in thinking about the concept of “Civil Defence” after the earthquakes of the past few years:

It is dramatically clear that responses have to be community-based. We are told to be prepared to be self-sufficient for up to three days, but we also need to commit to getting to know our neighbours and identifying “community assets” that may be vital in an emergency. These community assets may be as simple as knowing that your neighbour is a nurse or the chap over the road has a chainsaw; the important thing is to build up a Neighbourhood Support Network where you can all help each other.

Scott mentioned two communities in Japan’s Kobe earthquake who survived that earthquake very differently — one community had worked together to improve the health of their river and wetlands in the previous year and had built up a huge sense of community and a broad base of assets (tools, skills, people skills) — their community lost only 10% of its homes to fire, where a very similar community close by lost 90% because they had not built up those connections.

Scott was really excited by the engagement of the Te Horo Community and the Paekakariki Community for this concept. The challenge is for us in Waikanae and Paraparaumu to do the same. Start by getting to know your neighbours. Don’t think, “oh, somebody else will have started that…” 🙂

(And don’t do what I do, and keep dipping into your Emergency Supplies till they are all gone before you go shopping again!)