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Sixth “Dam Break” Lahar Response Exercise Success


Sixth “Dam Break” Lahar Response Exercise Successful

The largest and most extensive response training exercise to date in preparation for the anticipated “dam break” lahar from the Crater Lake on Mt Ruapehu was held today (Wednesday 25 October 2006).

The exercise involved over 100 personnel from the organisations involved in the Southern Ruapehu Lahar Planning Group (SRLPG) and other key agencies involved in the lahar emergency response including the Army, Department of Conservation, GNS Science and others.

Paul Wheatcroft, Public Information Manager for the Ruapehu District Council, the lead response agency for the SRLPG stated that all the organisations involved were very pleased with how well today’s response training exercise went.

“This is the sixth lahar response training exercise held to date as well as being the largest and most extensive,” said Mr Wheatcroft.

“Today’s exercise reflected the highest degree of realism and operational complexity that the Southern Ruapehu Lahar Planning Group and agencies have tested so far,” he said.

“Today’s exercise assisted to identify areas were we can incrementally improve the lahar response plan and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the response to the real event.”

“The success of today’s exercise has demonstrated that the planning that has been undertaken in preparation for the lahar is highly robust and we can have every confidence in its effectiveness.”

The current “dam break” lahar hazard is low with the Crater Lake level being only 2.6 metres above the rock rim of the crater on the tephra dam.

The DoC warning status for the entire Crater Lake basin is however still at medium risk due to the on-going low-level volcanic earthquakes that are being monitored by GNS Science.

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