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As seismic activity increases, tsunami experts visit seaside Christchurch suburb to prepare

They might be prepared for an earthquake, but how well prepared are those living in the seaside suburb of Sumner for a tsunami?

Some of the country's top tsunami experts have hosted workshops to show residents a state-of-the-art evacuation model, which was created using experiences from the Canterbury and Kaikōura earthquakes.

It’s a collaborative project between Canterbury University, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, Civil Defence, GNS Science and Massey University.

Thomas Wilson, associate professor of disaster risk and resilience at Canterbury University, says public feedback is crucial in ensuring the model works effectively.

“We need to consider how people interact with the terrain and each other, potentially delays caused by congestion, steep or rough ground and narrow pathways,” he said.

More than 100 people had their say across two separate workshops.

Yvonne De Beer, a Sumner local who also works for Coastguard, says she felt it was important to attend so she could pass the information on to her kids.

Another local, Teisha Bradley, who helps run the surf club says she needed to be at the workshop to update her lifeguards on how best to evacuate the beach if needed.

William Power from GNS Science is one of New Zealand’s top tsunami scientists. With more frequent seismic activity, he believes it’s more important now than ever before that residents who live close to the water know their escape route.

“If there’s not a good evacuation process and people are caught in it, it can cause a lot of fatalities so it’s important we know how to respond to them well,” he said.

Local Civil Defence will now review the feedback and refine the agency's plans.

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To prepare, residents in Sumner have been attending workshops. Source: 1 NEWS