© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Is NZ prepared for a natural disaster?

Tia McDougall
February 2011 Christchurch earthquake 10
Christchurch Earthquake 2011 aftermath  Wikimedia

New Zealanders could be in the best place for a natural disaster.

Te Anau was jolted by a 5.0 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, while Christchurch experienced a 3.4 last week. Vanuatu was hit by a cyclone, and Mt Anak Krakatau erupted in Indonesia.

Dr Julia Becker, from the Centre for Disaster Research at Massey University, says New Zealanders is likely to be well prepared.

"Preparedness starts by gathering basic survival items, and making sure you live in a safe home is vital for preparing for natural disasters, something we've seen New Zealanders do since the lockdown started."

Dr Emily Lane, a hydrodynamics scientist, says the trouble people would face in a natural disaster would be maintaining social distancing.

"A tsunami alert or large earthquake would represent a more immediate threat to human life than COVID-19. If something worse happens, that should be the priority."

Lane says Civil Defence should instruct New Zealanders to forget about the two-metre distancing rules if in greater danger.

Civil Defence New Zealand is still aware of other emergencies happening besides the pandemic, and updated its tsunami evacuation maps earlier this month.