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Auckland volcano exercise testing readiness

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Civil Defence

10 March 2008
Media Statement

Auckland volcano exercise testing readiness

New Zealand’s biggest ever civil defence emergency management exercise, Exercise Ruaumoko, will enter its most intense phase this week. The desk top exercise will include the activation of emergency operations centres and will see 100 local, regional and central government and non-government organisations responding to volcanic activity in the Auckland volcanic field.

Exercise Ruaumoko began in November last year and has followed what scientists believe would be a likely build up to an eruption in the Auckland volcanic field.

"It is through national exercises such as Ruaumoko that we test the readiness of our Civil Defence arrangements. The last major national exercise was Capital Quake in November 2006 and Exercise Ruaumoko will build on the lessons learnt from that," Civil Defence Minister, Rick Barker said.

"While most Aucklanders would probably believe that the volcanos in the region are extinct – the fact of the matter is that the Auckland volcanic field is still active and Rangitoto erupted as recently as 600 years ago.

"An eruption in Auckland would cause major disruption to New Zealand's largest city and it is important that we are prepared should such an event occur. The old adage that it is best to fix the roof when the sun is shining is certainly true of civil defence.

"Practice makes perfect and Exercise Ruaumoko will help make our country’s biggest city more resilient.

"Through the exercise we have developed economic impact reports and business continuity plans, evacuation plans, and a model of how our communities are likely to react during a volcanic emergency. All of these will be critical if an eruption were to occur," Mr Barker said.

At this stage of the exercise seismic activity has intensified and earthquakes are being felt, indicating an eruption is imminent. The organisations responding do not yet know the exact nature of the event and the National Crisis Management Centre is monitoring the situation.

If you would like to track the progress of the exercise visit www.exerciseruaumoko.co.nz


ENDS

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