What's the plan, Rick?
NZ Herald reports:
Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker today hit back at claims the Government's emergency planning was insufficient and would result in total confusion. Wellington and Canterbury Civil Defence emergency managers (CDEM) have criticised planning after the recent tsunami false alarm.
He [the Minister] added: "We do have a plan...if a tsunami was on its way to New Zealand we would have warning.
"We would press all the bells necessary to alert people through police, fire, civil defence emergency groups and we would have a very powerful and a very coordinated response. Of that I am very confident."
Not the first time a Minister has been very confident about something so very, obviously, ineffective or even non-existent. The bit I like best is: "We would press all the bells necessary to alert people. But, Mr Barker, there are no bells!
In pursuit of my project to have a one minute of silence at 1pm on Anzac Day - signalled by sirens - I contacted the Civil Defence chief of Auckland and asked what system of emergency sirens we have. He told me that we have none. None at all. Zero. 1.2 million people in the Auckland Metropolitan area, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and alongside the fault zone which is at sea... and we have no sirens to alert us! The procedure in case of a tsunami warning would be that the police would drive around the waterfront telling people to evacuate! Right..... so the police would drive down into the kill zone and risk their lives knowing that a tsunami is coming... ? Yeah sure, they may be a bit intellectually sub-normal, but they aren't completely without a sense of self preservation. I'm sure they saw what happened in the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Civil Defence guy said that putting sirens everywhere to avoid complete carnage would cost too much and there were no plans to do this.
At about $4000 for a siren that can be heard at 5km in still air we would not need many to cover the coastal areas. It seems a very small cost to save a lot of lives. They can be tested every ANZAC Day at 1pm. There would without any doubt at all be complete and utter confusion if a tsunami was on it's way now - without any effective way of alerting people or coping with a mass evacuation. The Minister is a moron and a liar. Witnessed today in Parliament when he was answering, trying to weasle his way out of answering, questions by Nick Smith:
"400 agencies," said Rick Barker, "proper provision at a national level," he said, "robust... can be improved," emphasising "robust" again he went on to express confidence in the "National Plan". The man was blathering that "we have poured substantial increases" into it and then mentioned a "60% increase" without any timeframe or context. Then he said the "National plan as it stands is an adequate description..." "description"? A description of a disaster waiting to happen. A description of a dog's breakfast. Barker thinks this "adequate description," where police cars all drive down to the many hundreds of kilometres of coastal roads where they will be killed in an attempt to alert people of impending disaster is "robust." He is truly astounding. But, he says part of this "robust" 2 year plan includes a school programme called "What's the plan, Stan" What about some fucking sirens to alert us so we don't all fucking end up drowned? What about that for a fucking plan? What are kids being told to do - grab an emergency boogey board? Is the programme a brainstorming session so they can report their ideas back to the minister? Is the programme five minutes of silence, staring at a blank blackboard?
Anyway, I will put the siren idea to the Auckland City Council via the Annual Plan submission. Aaron Bhatnagar has also said he would mention it to the C&R Now Councillors. Maybe at least our little patch will have a fighting chance.
The Herald also reports: "Tomorrow Exercise Pacific Wave -- an exercise involving 28 countries around the Pacific -- will test warning procedures." So, nothing at all will be hapenning tomorrow then.