Kapiti Council worried about tsunami confusion
By Jeremy Smith, KIN Local Govt. Correspondent
Confusion over tsunami warnings after the November 14 7.8 earthquake was the focus of discussion when KCDC councillors received a staff briefing over the council’s response.
Councillor Mike Cardiff said he heard through radio that a tsunami warning was declared for something called southern coastal areas without an description of what these areas covered.
Cardiff noted that the media was moving information faster than official sources.
Council CEO Patrick Dougherty said tsunami information coming from the Wellington quake was too late.
He said the events showed the need for the entire community to be educated about earthquake and tsunami procedures.
Mr Dougherty said the government’s announcement that it would find money for a national notification system was “very good news indeed”.
Councillors also heard how, unless a civil emergency is declared, private building owners do not have to advise the local council about the state of their buildings.
Council staff do have the power to enter a building for a special reason but only if they have good cause.
Councillors were shown a time-line of council response from minutes after the shake just after midnight.
By 12.25 emergency management staff were called in to the council’s call centre. KCDC used its own staff because the regional response facility at Palmerston North was too busy.
The first facebook post on the council site was up by 1.17am., and feeds were going out to local radio.
By 3am the first shift was operating and customer service staff were at work by 5am.
The council building in Paraparaumu was cleared for used by 5.30.
The first media advisory went out at 2.30 following by a warning to stay off all beaches.
Councillors were also told there were problems with misinformation coming from private social media sources.