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New tsunami signs to increase Cape Coast resilience

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Two new tsunami information boards and a set of seven new evacuation route signs have gone up around Hawke’s Bay’s Cape Coast to ensure that people who live in and visit the community are aware of the area’s tsunami risk and know what actions to take to stay safe.
 
The new information boards are located on the toilet block at the Haumoana River Mouth and at the freedom camping area by the Te Awanga shops. The latest signage builds on the five tsunami information boards installed at Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton last year. Tsunami Safe Location signs have also been provided to Haumoana School, Te Awanga Kindergarten and Te Awanga Estate winery. 
 
Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HBCDEM) Community Engagement Team Leader Jae Whelan says tsunami signage is a low-cost, high-impact public education tool and will play an important part in in boosting community resilience in the area.
 
“Here on the East Coast of the North Island we are particularly at risk of tsunami, as we have Aotearoa’s largest and most active fault – the Hikurangi Subduction Zone – right on our doorstep,” Jae Whelan said.
 
“Because of this, everyone in a tsunami evacuation zone should know how to prepare for tsunami and know what to do to keep safe.
 
“The new signage will increase awareness of the Cape Coast’s tsunami risk and help ensure that everybody in the community knows what to do, when to evacuate and where to go in a tsunami event,” Jae Whelan said.
 
The tsunami information boards present awareness and action messages about:

  • Recognising the natural warning signs and acting quickly – Long or Strong, Get Gone
  • Tsunami evacuation zones
  • Key survival facts, and
  • A QR code to the HBCDEM website to assist in planning your own evacuation route.

The evacuation route signs help direct people along a predefined route out of the evacuation zones, from Haumoana and the Te Awanga shops, up towards Haumoana School.  
 
Cape Coast Community Group representative Irene O’Connell said the signage project is the result of ongoing collaboration between HBCDEM, Hastings District Council and the local community.
 
“The last few years has seen evolving discussions and an increased awareness around emergency preparedness within our community. Last May, Cape Coast Resilience Plan booklets were delivered to all households and the first of the tsunami information boards were erected at key locations,” Irene O’Connell said.
 
“It is an important step to get this information visible in the Community for both locals and visitors. 
 
“It has been a constructive process to work with HBCDEM and the council on these initiatives and I sense these conversations around Community Resilience will be an ongoing part of life living on the Cape Coast,” Irene O’Connell said.    
 
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said community safety is a very high priority for Hastings District Council and the new signs will enhance the Cape Coast’s resilience to tsunami.
 
“Not only will the signs help local residents be prepared but, given the Cape Coast is a popular tourist destination, they will ensure our visitors are aware of the risk and know what action to take if there is a risk of tsunami,” Mayor Hazlehurst said.
 
Jae Whelan says that everyone in Hawke’s Bay should remember that the most important signs are the natural ones.
 
“A local source tsunami could happen any time and arrive in minutes, with no time for official warnings. So, it’s important to recognise the natural warning signs and act quickly. Remember, if an earthquake is long or strong, get gone,” Jae Whelan said.

10 June 2022

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