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Waiting for the next big one …

12 August

Waiting for the next big one..

New Zealanders are at risk from a large range of natural hazards, including earthquakes and landslides, storms and floods, volcanic eruptions and fires, damaging waves and tsunamis.

These are among the hazards being discussed at the 5th National Hazards Management Conference at Te Papa on 13-16 August. The conference has a "science to practice" focus, with the aim of communicating the scientific understanding of these hazards to planners and hazard managers.

The 180 people attending the 3-day workshop and conference include planners, emergency managers, insurers, university and Crown Research Institute scientists, government departments, and weather forecasters.

NIWA's research director Dr Rob Murdoch, one of the opening speakers at the conference, says "We're in a country exposed to a large range of natural hazards. What we want to do at this conference is to link the science behind natural hazards to planning and management."

"The whole focus is to make New Zealand a more resilient society. We, as scientists, want to better communicate our findings to the people making decisions, and we want to hear from them where they want us to focus our efforts."

The scientific sessions include:

- The National Rural Fire Authority and the art and science of wildland fire management,

- DOC and lessons learned from Ruapehu's crate lake lahar management,

- University of Canterbury and engineering for earthquake-resistant design,

- EQC and disaster response planning,

- NIWA and flood forecasting and nowcasting (the short-term forecasting of rainfall using radar data),

- Metservice and the advances in forecasting extreme weather events,

- GNS and the impacts of ashfall on urban environments,

- NIWA and planning for coastal hazards and climate change,

- Victoria University and landslides from rainfall,

Risk management sessions include:

- WRC and linking hazard information and public education,

- Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the Civil Defence Emergency Act,

- National Lifelines Coordinator and the effectiveness of lifelines projects: keeping essential services on line

- Victoria University and the human element of disasters.

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