Planning for an extremely powerful earthquake along the Hikurangi Subduction Zone will continue on the east coast this year, with meetings between East Coast LAB and stakeholders scheduled for next month.
East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) was granted funding to coordinate a response plan for a large earthquake in 2017, and their Hikurangi Response Plan project has now been running since July last year.
The next step will be meetings between the lab and stakeholders including CDEM, local and central government, infrastructure providers, emergency services, hospital and health providers, NGOs and experts from universities and business sectors.
The scheduled stakeholder meetings will see the East Coast LAB develop and fine tune their initial response plan, which will be used to support civil defence authorities in the five areas which would be most affected on the North Island's east coast.
These include Tairāwhiti (Gisborne), Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui and Wellington (including the Wairarapa).
Project Lead Natasha Goldring said the project is focused on lifting readiness for the realistic chance of a magnitude-8.9 quake along the zone.
"The scenario we are using to support the development of this response plan is a very realistic example of what we could face in our lifetime, or that of our children and grandchildren," Ms Goldring said.
She urged people to remind themselves and their communities that a plan should be in place for such an earthquake, and suggested that people visit www.happens.nz to help them make that plan.