Comment sought on emergency group plan

Stephen Woodhead
Stephen Woodhead
Emergency Management Otago wants to consult members of the public throughout Otago over the organisation's proposed new 10-year group plan.

Public submissions on the draft group plan close on April 29.

The "Four Rs'' - of Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery - played a key role in the plan, which has just been released for community consultation.

Stephen Woodhead, who chairs the Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, said that the draft plan set out an approach focused on working with and supporting communities before, during and after emergencies.

All emergencies were "essentially local'' because even when they covered a wide area, they had a "direct impact on individuals, families and communities'', Mr Woodhead said.

"We are looking to increase our communities' knowledge about hazards and risks; reduce Otago's exposure to hazards by increasing preparedness for adverse events; ensure we continually improve our response to emergencies; and support our communities to recover afterwards,'' he said.

Otago had a co-ordinated regional approach to emergency management that also enabled and supported each council to make appropriate local arrangements.

The review of the group plan had been under way for more than a year and had included workshops in every district, and discussions with key stakeholders and partner agencies.

Otago also had the second-largest land area of any region in New Zealand, covering about 36,000sqkm or 12% of New Zealand's land area.

The report said that climate change was predicted to have impacts on the frequency and severity of emergencies.

"These include more intense rainfall patterns and associated flooding, more frequent and intense droughts, more damaging winds and increased wildfire risk.''

About 229,200 people had enjoyed the many opportunities available for work and recreation in the region.

But recent earthquakes, fires and floods had "reminded us how devastating natural hazards can be'', the report said.

  • The full draft group plan and a consultation summary are online at Printed copies are available at the main offices of each district, city and regional council in Otago.


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