Christchurch earthquake lessons completed

  • Nikki Kaye
Civil Defence

New Zealand is now better at planning for and supporting the public in emergencies, with over 100 recommendations from the Independent Review of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Response to the Christchurch Earthquake now actioned, says Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye.

“This is the culmination of around three years’ work since the review was completed. Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) has worked with central and local government agencies to strengthen and invest in a wide range of areas,” says Ms Kaye.

“With the review’s recommendations implemented, we’re now much better able to deliver for communities in need.

“Changes made as a result of the review include improved CDEM planning and guidelines, more investment in training and exercises and greater ICT investment.

“Some highlights include:

  • a new national Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan 2015
  • new guidelines governing everything from managing cordons and coordinating volunteers, to carrying out rapid impact assessments and organising logistics
  • improved welfare responsiveness
  • enhanced training for CDEM controllers, engineers and inspectors, and joint Police and Fire Service training.

“Improved welfare responsiveness and arrangements mean our system now better supports communities and our most vulnerable.

“How we collect information on people affected by an emergency, how we carry out needs assessments and reunify people with their families, the protection services we provide for children and young people and the financial support for animal welfare are all much stronger.

“Training and exercises are also much more effective. We’re testing different scenarios and ways of working together during exercises, which as well as CDEM staff and emergency and utility services also involve the Defence Force, ports and rail and lifeline utilities such as power and telecommunications.

“We’re also testing the integrated Emergency Management Information System (EMIS) at national and local levels. This is a web-based system used by CDEM and local authorities to request and track resources, assign tasks and monitor and report on progress, and means we have better coordination and consistency when managing information during an emergency.

“Another important change that was recommended by the review and has since been adopted is locating the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). This provides a better platform for launching responses.

“MCDEM has been leading the work to implement the review’s recommendations, under its Corrective Action Plan developed in 2012.

“Concluding this work is a significant step. The Canterbury earthquakes were devastating for families who lost loved ones or had serious injuries. However, the Government has been focused on ensuring that we learn lessons from this tragedy.

“This comprehensive work plan means our CDEM capabilities and our country are stronger because of it.”

The full response to the review’s recommendations is available at: assets/Review-of-Emergency-Response-to-Christchurch-Corrective-Action-Plan-Summary-October-2015.pdf