Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's all about the tsunami

Ever since I was texted late last night from the Blue Mountains, to warn of possible tsunami in the Pacific Ocean, thus potentially threatening the low-lying Dunedin coastal community where I live, it has been all about the getting of information. Fascinating. I've been struck by the way some nations, some authorities (and some people) choose to opt for denial as their first line of defence.

Nope. No. Not at all. Not likely.

But I'm a civil defence junkie. I immediately remembered the last Chile tsunami alert (I was five years old then and living by another NZ harbour) and I remembered that there were tsunamis that day too. And deaths, elsewhere in the Pacific.

Fortunately we get a long lead-in, from a Chilean tsunami. We were ready by mid-morning, and we evacuated, just in case the lottery threw its dice our way...

It seemed I had lost the small bet I had entered into, that emergency personnel would blare sirens and evacuate us. But we did all agree that it would be wise to get away from the high tide mark anyway.

Eventually, the nation, the authorities and the individual skeptics came around to the idea that "this is not a drill". And our neighbourhood was evacuated, in our absence.

So I won the bet. But even better, everyone is safe.


sas said...

the nz civil defence site and twitter feed seemed to be the best source of news about how new zealand was/not affected. mainstream media were shockingly bad!

The Paradoxical Cat said...

Late Saturday night, NZ civil defence were claiming NZ was in no danger at all. I believe that to have been a statement made far too quickly and people who went off to sleep at that stage may well have been endangered by being reassured too soon. So until about 2 am Australia, Japan, Antarctica and Russia (etc) were reported as expecting tidal surges, but NZ was playing it all down. And again at 8 am the Dunedin authorities said Dunedin would not be affected at all! Some crystal ball the DCC has access to that nobidy else could see into...