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Timely Reminder To Prepare For Earthquakes

Timely Reminder To Prepare For Earthquakes

A string of damaging quakes in central New Zealand in the past six months has prompted three organisations to issue a reminder on quake preparedness.

GNS Science, EQC, and the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management said today in a joint statement hat the quakes underlined New Zealand’s vulnerability to natural hazards.

“Even though the present data indicates a normal aftershock sequence with slowly declining frequency of quakes in the coming weeks, it’s not possible to rule out a quake of similar or larger magnitude to Monday’s main shock
in the Wairarapa,” GNS Science seismologist Caroline Little said.

“Examples of this happening are the Cook Strait/Lake Grassmere quakes of 2013, the Canterbury quake sequence of 2010 and 2011, and the Weber earthquake sequence between 1990 and 1992* ,” Ms Little said

Monday’s 6.2 magnitude Eketahuna quake struck at 3.52pm at a depth of about 33km and 15km east of Eketahuna in the Wairarapa. Nearly 400 aftershocks occurred in the first 24 hours after the main shock and they are expected
to continue in the area for some time.

“The Eketahuna earthquake sequence is an excellent reminder that earthquakes can happen at any time and in any place in New Zealand,” Ms Little said.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advised that the best action during an earthquake is to "drop, cover and hold".

“If you are inside, move no more than a few steps and do not try to run outside. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit,” Director John Hamilton said.

In most buildings in New Zealand, it is safer to stay where you are until the shaking stops, Mr Hamilton said.

More information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake is at

The Earthquake Commission advised that as aftershocks continue, it’s important to fix and fasten any large furniture or valuables in homes to keep families safe. The location, timing and intensity of earthquakes cannot be predicted, but people can take steps to help them be prepared for when earthquakes occur.

One step is to visit the EQC website and look through information in the Fix. Fasten. Don’t Forget section.

EQC General Manager of Reinsurance, Research and Education, Hugh Cowan, says “It’s important that people make the necessary changes to help protect their loved ones and their homes and contents if an earthquake happens. As we
learned in the Canterbury earthquakes, securing a large wardrobe, television or chimney can save lives.”

Your city or district council is responsible for civil defence in your area. You can get more information about hazards in your area from your council and on the GNS Science and GeoNet websites.

GNS Science records about 20,000 quakes in New Zealand each year, with 200 to 300 being big enough to be felt.


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