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Tsunami exercise tests CD – and our students

Oct 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

TsunamiLEADWhitireia Journalism School students are playing the role of reporters for major NZ media outlets in an exercise run by Civil Defence this week.

Exercise Tangaroa is designed to test national arrangements in response to a tsunami warning, and is set up to be as realistic as possible.

The exercise will see the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issue a simulated alert of a tsunami that has originated off the South American coast.

A national exercise run by Civil Defence every two years, Tangaroa is the largest ever, with 10 months of planning involved.

This year’s exercise is the first time the role of media has been included.

The students will be acting as television and radio presenters, and web reporters, and will be conducting interviews with agencies involved in the project.

They will be testing the National Crisis Management Centre’s ability to handle the media in an emergency.

All their work will be published in real time on a private version of their news website, NewsWire.

“It’s an opportunity for students to experience a near-real major news event and work to deadlines,” says journalism school head Jim Tucker.

The school has the advantage of operating a news website, so it can post students’ stories as they are completed, which adds immediacy to the exercise.

“Our students are keen to put CD under real pressure,” he says.

The civil defence organisation says the school’s involvement will allow the 100 or so agencies involved in the exercise to keep up to date with what’s happening during the day.

In the past, Civil Defence has tested the country’s response to events such as a Wellington earthquake and a volcanic event in Auckland city.

If a large tsunami hit New Zealand it would have the potential to cause serious damage to coastal communities and infra-structure.

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