HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 574:27 July 2011

Tsunami drill a wake up call…

A Tsunami will destroy everything in its way. I watched in awe the scenes televised from Japan on March 11, 2011. The spectacular water disaster from an earthquake of 8.9 off its coast. I thought of lessons to be learnt from such situations as those in Japan and other places such as Ache in Indonesia and Samoa.
It would be more devastating for us here in the Cook Islands as we are no doubt, surrounded by the ocean. According to time taken, the whole of Tereora College’s faculty would have perish if it took 7 minutes and 20 seconds, to get to the planned high ground (at Cook Islands Teachers Institute house) behind the Telecom Sports Arena. It took this long because everyone was not running but walking up hill to the designated area and not taking the drill seriously. I hope that when we do get a real tsunami warning that we won’t have the frantic and hysterical experience to deal with, because last Wednesday’s drill needs improvement. In the back of every human mind there is always the unimaginable scenario of how we want to approach life. But sometimes we need to think seriously if the scenario is real. “If there was actually a tsunami approaching us – I will get my surfboard and surf with the waves”, yeah right. Or, I will hop onto my motorbike and take off leaving the rest to run to higher ground”, that’s a bit selfish. Then there is the mother who said, “I will hop onto my motorbike and rush to pick my son up at school first”, but what if the waves were just there? I think 7 minutes is too hefty a time to try to get to safety, especially if there was a real tsunami approaching our island Rarotonga and the other low lying islands in the Cook Islands. Where am I going to run to? How high do I need to be? After some research here were some frightening facts I thought we should think seriously about when in a tsunami drill. Tsunamis can move faster than a person can run and it can occur at any time, day or night. A tsunami can consist of a series of waves and if the first wave is not the largest you have others to worry about if approaching. If the water does get to you – you still have the debris together with the force of the water that can kill or injure you. So therefore, lesson learnt from the day, is to educate ourselves first as to how to react to such a disaster and practice (tsunami drill). Then afterwards review results for a constructive emergency management plan.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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