Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Make NZ cities disaster resilient now, UC geologist says

Make NZ cities disaster resilient now, UC geologist says

February 21, 2013

New Zealand cities must capitalise on Christchurch's earthquake experience if they are to make themselves more resilient to natural disasters, University of Canterbury (UC) geologist Dr Mark Quigley said today.

Speaking at the Royal Society in Wellington last night as part of the National Library's Big Data discussion series, Dr Quigley said the post-disaster awareness bubble created by the earthquakes was shrinking.

He said costly mistakes such as the development of flood and liquefaction prone parts of eastern Christchurch in the 1990s and early 2000s were examples of 'what could continue' if the public did not seek a deeper understanding of the Christchurch experience.

``If councils yield to developers and allow vulnerable land to be zoned and built upon and insurance companies are willing to come to the party then people will buy there, regardless of the risk.

``This is a major psychological and financial risk that people take, commonly because the consequences of relatively infrequent but potentially catastrophic events are not really thought about.’’

Dr Quigley called on New Zealanders to move from a generalised awareness that natural disasters such as earthquakes occur to a more specific understanding of how such events could impact on them personally and financially.

``We all know about earthquakes, but is it possible that we could get a rock fall event in our backyard that could bury our house? Is our home or workplace up to the building code? How vulnerable are our buried lifelines? Will we be without sewerage, water, power and internet for weeks after an earthquake, such as many people in eastern Christchurch went through?"

Dr Quigley said parts of Wellington and Lower Hutt were areas where extensive liquefaction could be expected to sever buried lifelines in an earthquake.

He urged ``everyday people’’ to pressure authorities to act proactively to deal with these issues before earthquakes, rather than after.

Research suggested the cost of strengthening buildings before a major event is less expensive then demolishing and rebuilding after it. He said proactive lifeline remediation and protection, stricter building code enforcement and careful land use planning were important components of increasing resilience before earthquakes.

``The inconvenience and expense of fixing our Victorian sewers in liquefaction prone areas now, for instance, pales in comparison to the personal, financial, health and environmental costs of waiting for the disaster to eventuate.’’

Dr Quigley will deliver a keynote address at the Science Communicators Association of New Zealand conference in Christchurch today.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Hager Raid: Westpac Wrong To Release Bank Records To Police

The Privacy Commissioner has censured Westpac Banking Corp for releasing without a court order more than 10 months of bank records belonging to the political activist and journalist Nicky Hager during a police investigation into leaked information published in Hager's 2014 pre-election book, 'Dirty Politics'. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Crown Accounts: Government Ekes Out Six-Month Surplus Of $9M

The New Zealand government eked out a tiny surplus in the first six months of the fiscal year as growth in domestic consumption lifted the goods and services tax take, while uncertainties over the Kaikoura earthquake costs meant expenses were less than expected. More>>

ALSO:

Almost 400 Jobs: Shock At Cadbury's Dunedin Factory Closure

Workers at Cadbury in Dunedin are reeling after learning this morning that the iconic Cadbury factory is to close, with the loss of almost 400 jobs... “The company had reported it was doing well and this has come out of the blue,” says Chas. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Boards Of Inquiry For Auckland Roading Projects

Boards of Inquiry have been appointed to decide on two significant Auckland roading projects in a move which will get a decision by the end of the year, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news