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Follow up - Aftershock: Would you survive?

A follow-up commentary on the second part of the Aftershock television programme.

Aftershock - Would you survive? is a follow-up documentary to a two-hour dramatisation set in Wellington, in the aftermath of a cataclysmic earthquake and tsunami. A family of five experienced a simulated disaster over a three day period.

If anything this documentary showed how ineffective 'being prepared' is when you are isolated. This is a key difference between "Personal Preparedness" and "Community Resilience".

Knowing your neighbours is a great start. Knowing your community is better. Resilience is not about "bouncing back" after a disaster, it is about being able to absorb the shock and continue on as normal as possible.

This was a well-thought out documentary. It covered many of the important considerations for survival.


Water is absolutely critical. The average human will die without water after three days.


Water-borne illness is a major threat to people in the days following a disaster. Contaminated water, poor sanitation, and lack of hand-washing and drying facilities all contribute to this. Boiling water or putting a few drops of bleach into the water and waiting 20 minutes can kill a lot of pathogens.


A plan should at least contain a primary place to meet (e.g. meet at home) and then a back-up place (e.g. meet at the primary school).


Don't assume your local school or kindergarten will look after your child - check with them and make sure they have a plan and equipment. Check that the teachers understand the plan and are themselves prepared.

Finally, three days is NOT ENOUGH to be prepared. One month is a more realistic timeframe, but this is difficult for individuals. However, by pooling resources across an entire community can not only make survival easier, it makes the road to recovery a lot smoother.

New Zealand Resilience Trust run free community courses in Wellington City that teach how to be better prepared and how to build more resilient communities. Contact us HERE for further information.

You can click You can click HERE to read a commentary on Civil Defence and Emergency Management from NZRT Chief Executive Jarrod Coburn.

Click HERE to read a commentary on the original Aftershock television programme.


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