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Local focus: Tsunami hazard to Napier after the earthquake

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Is Napier port a tsunami threat to the city of Napier? Made with funding from NZ On Air.

The tsunami could take up to 20 minutes for Napier to strike after the earthquake. And with Napier’s harbor packed with logs and containers, water alone may be the least of the city’s worries when the large port hits the coast.

A tsunami could sweep several thousand logs and containers across the region, severely hampering rescue and recovery efforts.

A severe tsunami hazard in Hawke Bay, where tectonic plates collide deeply in the Hikurangi Trench.

A study in Gisborne highlights the threat of tree trunks to the city in the event of a major tsunami.

Gisborne is not a container port.

Napier’s salads have a more general focus.

“We are concerned about the tsunami debris in general,” said Ian MacDonald, Director of the Civil Defense Emergency Management Group in Hook Bay.

“Obviously, there will be more than just logs and containers from the port.

“You’re also talking about the buildings along the coast.

“There are a number of containers that are physically located inside the port as well.

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“The wreck is made up of a lot of things – trees, parts of buildings – so it’s not just the port.”

The 2011 Japan tsunami showed that debris can travel long distances inland and cause a lot of damage.

He said that places like Napier Hill would provide a safe haven for Napier’s residents, who were advised to move immediately on foot if they were in an area inundated by a tsunami after a “long and strong” earthquake.

“It’s more than a minute tall and strong is where you find it difficult to stand and things fall off the shelves and away from the walls.”

Japan has purpose-built structures for people to evacuate in the event of a tsunami.

The New Zealand government has released plans for how to build it. It has yet to be determined where they might be placed in Napier.

Some parts of Napier are below sea level.

Napier Port said its primary focus in the major earthquake and tsunami was on the safety and well-being of people in the port.

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