Wellington under-prepared for disaster

Last updated 10:17 03/06/2014

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Wellingtonians are under-prepared for a big disaster like an earthquake, tsunami or landslide, a new survey has found.

A University of Canterbury-led survey of 695 people in the capital discovered most had gathered some household supplies together, but had largely overlooked the need to make an evacuation plan and getaway kit.

Professor Ray Kirk, School of Health Sciences said the ''readiness gap'' had significant implications, both in preparing for a disaster, and coping in its aftermath.

''Future landslides, flooding, earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, wildfire and volcanic disasters are expected throughout the Pacific region,'' he said.

Recommendations for better preventive action to dampen the effects of a disaster were ''essential''.

''Disaster preparedness is more than preparing to survive and keeping services and economies functioning; disasters frequently displace people suddenly from home and workplaces, and profoundly change lives and livelihoods; and personal costs of recovery are often unthinkable and difficult to anticipate at best.

Events like the Washington state landslide in March which killed 44 people, and the 8.2 Chilean earthquake in April showed nowhere was invulnerable to a disaster, Kirk said.

''Disaster preparedness is more than preparing to survive and keeping services and economies functioning; disasters frequently displace people suddenly from home and workplaces, and profoundly change lives and livelihoods.''

University of Canterbury researchers worked with researchers from the Mayo Clinic in the United States on the study.

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- The Dominion Post

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