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The Chathams Islands is a remote, awe-inspiring place
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Understanding hazards and risks to build capability
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The Chatham Islands Council is responsible for leading the identification and reduction of significant hazards and risks through integrated and coordinated emergency management systems.
We develop hazard-based risk management systems that cover readiness, resilience, response and recovery.
In an emergency such as a fire or flood, always phone 111 for police/fire.
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Visit the national Civil Defence website for more information.
The area covered by the Chatham Islands Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group includes all of Chatham Islands, Pitt Island and all coastal marine areas under the jurisdiction of the Chatham Islands Council.
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The Chatham Islands CDEM Group Plan intends to inform, involve and put mechanisms in place so the community can better understand its hazards and risks to build capability and capacity. By working collectively, agencies involved in emergency response and the community can continue to build resilience.
This Plan seeks to strengthen relationships between agencies involved in civil defence emergency management, and to encourage cooperative planning and action between the various agencies to deliver effective civil defence emergency management.
By identifying hazards and their potential impacts on the Chatham Islands, the Plan enables both the Council and the community to better prepare for an emergency event including planning, training and education. The Plan provides a foundation for informing and involving the community so they can better understand local hazards and risks, and therefore build capability, capacity and resilience. The Plan is a statutory requirement under the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act 2002, which requires the Chatham Islands Council to take the lead in identifying and reducing hazards. The Plan is operative for five years following its approval by the CDEM Group, and adoption by the Council and Minister of Civil Defence.
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View the interactive Chatham Islands tsunami evacuation zones web map(external link).
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The zones are the areas you may need to evacuate, or stay out of, if you feel a long or strong earthquake, or if there is an official tsunami warning.
You should move out of all the evacuation zones – red, orange and yellow – if you:
Red Zone: The red zone includes beaches, estuaries, harbours and river mouths. You should leave this area as a precaution if you feel a long or strong earthquake, or if you are told to in any official tsunami warning (a ‘Beach and Marine warning’ or a ‘Land and Marine warning’). Most tsunamis aren’t big enough to flood land, but even small tsunamis can cause strong and unpredictable currents and surges in the water that you don’t want to get caught in, which is why we tell people to stay out of the red zone even in a small tsunami. You can expect to evacuate the red zone several times in your lifetime.
Orange Zone: The orange zone is the area that could be inundated in a tsunami big enough to flood land (a tsunami bigger than 1 metre wave height at coast above normal sea level at the time). You should leave this area as a precaution if you feel a long or strong earthquake, or if you are told to in an official warning (a ‘Land and Marine warning’). You can expect to evacuate this zone a few times (maybe 2 or 3 times) in a lifetime.
Yellow Zone: The yellow zone is the area that could be inundated in a very big tsunami (a tsunami bigger than 8 metres wave height at coast above normal sea level at the time). You should leave this area as a precaution if you feel a long or strong earthquake, or if you are told to in an official warning (a ‘Land and Marine warning’). While it is possible you will have to evacuate this zone sometime in your lifetime, it is unlikely.
We have taken a cautious approach when drawing these zones. As our understanding of the Chatham Island’s tsunami hazard improves these zones may become smaller.
We don’t rely on just one way to tell people if there is a tsunami warning in place – there are several ways that you may get a warning.
If you feel a long, rolling earthquake or feel an earthquake so strong that it is hard to stand up and furniture is starting to move around, you should leave the red, orange and yellow zones as soon as the shaking stops. Do not wait for an official warning.
If there is time for Civil Defence to issue an official warning (if the tsunami is coming from more than about an hour away), you may get a warning the following ways:
You can do your bit by sharing official warnings with family, friends and neighbours. Every effort will be made to advise people on the Chatham Islands of a tsunami warning, through many different channels, but because of the nature of our Islands and the isolated population residents must recognise that in some instances they may not receive a warning.
The Chatham Islands Council prepares, maintains and reviews Regional Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plans, under the Maritime Transport Act 1994(external link).
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Want to volunteer for the Chatham Islands Emergency Response Team or simply find out more? Contact Rana Solomon, Emergency Manager/Controller, on 03 305 0033 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org