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Thursday, 25 April 2019 11:49 am

Quake silence justified, says Civil Defence

Jul 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

DUMMY RUN: A mannequin quake victim in Nelson, photographed by Ryan Youens and posted on Twitter.

LIFTS stopped moving, trains were interrupted, wine bottles fell off supermarket shelves and people panicked in the Wellington region when a 7.0 magnitude quake hit last night at 10.36pm.

However people had nothing to worry about, says Wellington City Council’s Civil Defence manager Mike Mendonca.

“There wasn’t a need to issue a tsunami warning (after last night’s earthquake),” Mr Mendonca says.

“It’s a common misconception that there would be time to issue such a warning. If people are concerned they need to be prepared and take appropriate action themselves.”

Official information media Radio New Zealand and TVNZ had little information on the quake and Mr Mendonca says there was no need for a warning so nothing was issued despite people’s concerns.

“They have been very responsible in their reporting of these types of events in the past.

“There is no excuse for Wellington people not to be prepared for emergency situations.

“After Christchurch and even before Christchurch there has always been a likelihood of a major earthquake here.”

As far as Mr Mendonca is aware, there has been no damage to council properties in Wellington.

“People need to advise building owners if they notice any damage.”

A source at TVNZ who asked not to be named said this morning the station carried little information because there was no news.

“We didn’t get information about it until after midnight and we had already done all the news broadcasts. And by that stage there was no damage or tsunami to report.”

Radio New Zealand head of news Don Rood says the station stuck to reporting on its hourly bulletins because it was quickly clear that there was no danger.

He says Radio New Zealand has an agreement with Civil Defence and an emergency phone link. They wait to get an official Civil Defence call before declaring an alert or warning to the public.

“Because we are on the Pacific Rim quakes happen all of the time, civil defence warnings are not always generated,” Mr Rood says.

He says the station has two roles as radio journalists – reporting the event, and broadcasting Civil Defence warnings to the public.

“There is a delicate balance in dealing with events like this, between informing people on the facts and letting them know of warnings.

“We don’t want to scare people unnecessarily.”

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