Disaster readiness higher

Last updated 12:00 14/02/2014

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As the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Manawatu floods arrives, a new survey is showing Manawatu-Whanganui residents are increasingly prepared for a disaster.

Data collected as part of the 2012 General Social Survey showed a 7.8 per cent increase between 2008 and 2012 in the number of households in the region equipped with an emergency plan and emergency food and water for three days.

This fits with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management's 2013 annual preparedness survey that showed 31 per cent of households within the region covered by Horizons Regional Council felt they were prepared.

Horizons emergency manager Ian Lowe said while preparedness figures were climbing, the best time to get ready was before disaster struck.

"Our region's had a bit of a shakeup recently with the Eketadhhuna quake. Our communities coped remarkably well and we were lucky that damage levels were relatively low. However, it is a reminder that disasters can strike at any time and had the outcome been different, people may have had to call upon their emergency supplies," Mr Lowe said.

"This time 10 years ago, flooding was a major issue for many within our region. We have made huge strides in terms of flood protection, planning and monitoring since then but it is a good opportunity to look back, remember what we overcame and think about how we might get through a similar event in the future."

Mr Lowe said it was important that households created a plan to look after themselves and their loved ones for at least three days or more. This should include such things as where to meet up after a disaster, where to store emergency survival items and what to include in a getaway kit.

Representatives from the Manawatu-Wanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group will be present at this year's Central District Field Days from March 13 to 15. For further information on emergency preparedness, contact your local council's Civil Defence Emergency Management Office or visit getthru.govt.nz.

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- Manawatu Standard

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