AF8 Newsletter – April 2017

South Island Workshops Ripple to Wellington

Year-1 of Project AF8 is progressing well, with interest and engagement spurred on by the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes, wildfires, and floods. Turnout at the workshops peaked with 130 participants at the Canterbury workshop in March. The workshops have provided a rare opportunity for response partners to plan together before a disaster.

Significant findings from the six South Island workshops include:

  • Response coordination in a highly compromised communication environment
  • Coordinated reconnaissance: Local/regional/South Island/national and community/lifeline utilities/hazards
  • Priority telecoms restoration / replacement
  • Coordination, access and support of immediate medical response, including: efficient use of air transport resources, particularly helicopters.
  • Shelter, movement, reception and care of displace people (10,000s)
  • Coordination of science support to regional responses
  • Shared situational awareness – across all regions. Resilient info/intel acquisition, management, analysis and sharing
  • Consistent messaging across the South Island
  • Resupply of isolated communities: land, air, water
  • Role of national agencies in South Island coordination and support, including NZDF resources and facilities
  • Coordination of inbound national and international resources
  • Integration of iwi
  • National coordination and control, including if Wellington compromised

The Project AF8 Impacts Expert Panel met in late-March to revise the scenario for use in the workshop to be held for Wellington agencies in late-April. The Wellington workshop scenario will include not only the damage, needs, and response activities used in the South Island workshops, but also direct and indirect impact on Wellington and the rest of the North Island. This will be an opportunity to explore some of the key across-South Island and national issues raised in workshops so far.

Project AF8 Resilience Videos Project EOI

The Project AF8 has initiated a call for expressions of interest to develop a set of short, engaging videos to raise awareness about the Alpine Fault hazard and what can be done to reduce its consequences. The videos will be used on-line and in public engagement sessions in year-2 of the project and beyond.

Project AF8 Science Update: Foundation to Response Planning.

The science work for Project AF8 has been going along at speed in recent months. We learnt a huge amount from the Kaikōura earthquakes, particularly in terms of their complexity, we now know the quake jumped across 21 separate faults. This is a first for New Zealand and hit the international headlines. This has already changed our thinking about earthquake behaviour, and confirmed that we should always expect the unexpected!

Social and response management learnings from recent responses have also been invaluable, such as tourist evacuations and how communities respond to the needs of extra visitors in the aftermath of the disaster. In Kaikōura we saw Takahanga Marae play a major role in leading the community welfare response, which was a massive contribution on their part.

From an infrastructure perspective, there were changes to networks due to damage and disruption, with significant flow- on effects. Road closures into Kaikōura displaced traffic on to SH8, which led to huge changes in demand for small businesses along the highway – both positive and a negative. The timeframe for reinstating the roads and other critical infrastructure was also observed to play a significant role in recovery, with businesses and locals crying out for a rapid reinstatement of services to allow them to welcome visitors and other business activity to restart as quickly as possible.

It is vital that we glean as much as we can from events like this.

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