SunLive – Triple Tsunami Threat: How Did We Respond?


Researchers from GNS Science and the University of Canterbury are seeking to better understand how the community responded to the triple earthquake and tsunami evacuation warnings in a single day.

On March 5, 2021, an unprecedented series of three earthquakes off the east coast of the North Island, and further north in the Kermadec Islands, sent tsunami waves to our shores.

Selected coastal communities from Northland to Christchurch – those who felt the earthquakes or were told to evacuate from tsunami evacuation areas – received a survey that asks them about their immediate responses, evacuation decisions and their hazard awareness before March 5, 2021, ‘tsunami day’.

A public survey by mail was sent to Bay of Plenty residents in Papamoa, Coastlands and Ōpōtiki last month.

“This research will provide key insights into the range of evacuation behaviors that have occurred across the country during this complex sequence of earthquakes and tsunami warnings,” says Sarah Beaven, co-lead researcher from the University of Canterbury and Senior Lecturer in Disaster Risk and Resilience. .

“Learning more about how this response unfolded at the community level will be of considerable interest at the international level. It has been exciting to be part of such a broad national collaboration, partnering with practitioners who hope to use the knowledge provided by coastal communities to inform tsunami evacuation planning for future events.

The survey was developed with the New Zealand Tsunami Research Group (TsuRGe), which includes scientists from research institutions across the country.

The research group partnered with regional Civil Defense emergency management groups to design and conduct the survey, then evaluate the responses to aid in future planning.

The survey will be available online nationwide in a few weeks, to gather further information.

The research will contribute to the growth of tsunami risk management in Aotearoa, New Zealand at local, regional and national levels.

“This research is critical to determining how well New Zealanders respond and evacuate when they receive a real tsunami warning,” says GNS Science project co-lead, lead scientist Dr Graham Leonard.

“It is crucial that we get feedback on real events like March 5, 2021, to help inform future tsunami responses and evacuations, especially as we know that the entire New Zealand coastline is at risk. risk of tsunamis.

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