Te Whanganui a Tara – New research into the probability of a big Southern Alps fault earthquake reinforces the importance of taking action to plan and prepare for earthquakes.
Acting minister for emergency management Kris Faafoi says while the Alpine Fault is capable of generating a severe earthquake and the government has helped setting up an emergency response and management system.
Research by Dr Jamie Howarth of Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University shows there is a 75 percent probability of the Alpine Fault rupturing over the next 50 years, up from around 30 per cent.
The research also calculates there is about an 82 percent chance that such an earthquake would be magnitude 8 or higher.
The new science doesn’t change the likely impacts for communities in the region. It does, however, confirm South Islanders’ approach to, and investment in, hazard-specific planning and earthquake awareness education has been the right one.
This latest study follows decades of research into the hazard presented by the Alpine Fault. As a result, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Earthquake Commission and civil defence emergency management groups have a robust understanding of the risk.
This includes Project AF8, which is a multi-regional collaboration between the six South Island and the Wellington civil defence emergency management groups and their partner organisations.
It has produced detailed planning for coordination of the first seven days of response following a severe Alpine Fault.
Increased capability and capacity of NEMA’s national planning team to develop a National response framework to support regional planning.
An emergency management assistance team is a squad of specially trained emergency managers who at very short notice to assist can support local teams to manage emergencies across all hazards and risks.
Engagement with communities, lifeline agencies, emergency services, businesses and a host of other organisations to plan can prepare for a severe earthquake on the Alpine Fault.
AF8 is currently running roadshows to provide South Island communities in areas most likely to be affected by a major earthquake with direct access to scientists and hazard impact information.