Run of bad luck with Covid and Tsunami Alert rattles

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Wellington, March 5, 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (RNZ Photo by Dan Cook)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that it is hard not to feel that New Zealand is having a run of bad luck, with residents waking up today to a Tsunami Alert amidst the Covid-19 restrictions.

Tsunami threat leaves

The Tsunami Alert was triggered after three quakes overnight – the first of 7.3 magnitude struck about 2.30am just off the east coast of the North Island. The second was 7.4 magnitude near Kermadec Islands at 6.41am, and the third was a magnitude 8.1 quake near Kermadec Islands at 8.28am. At 3.45pm, the National Emergency Management Agency cancelled all of the tsunami warnings.

“As I walked into the Beehive bunker, where we undertake our Civil Defence emergency co-ordination, two things struck me. First that it is hard not to feel like our country is having a run of bad luck when you have an earthquake, Tsunami Alert and pandemic to contend with all in one day,” Ms Ardern said.

Work of Civil Defence

But walking past images of past natural disasters plastered on the walls to the bunker, she realised the efforts of Civil Defence teams.

“We have had our share of tough moments in this country, but within that we have always been blessed incredible people who work in our emergency system,” she said.

Emergency Management Minister Kiritapu Allan said that there have been multiple aftershocks after the initial quakes.

“A Tsunami was generated with the first waves reaching Aotearoa in the areas around Lottin Point near Hicks Bay. At the time of the event, the National Emergency Management Agency had already activated the National Co-Ordination Centre due to the Covid-19 resurgence. Additional resources were brought in to respond to this Tsunami event,” she said.

People’s cooperation

She thanked all those who did the right thing and evacuated when they felt the long and strong quake in the early hours as well as service people.

“They took to the streets to look after our communities,” she said, adding gratitude to Civil Defence teams as well as media for providing updates to the public.

“This has been a significant event for all of Aotearoa. That means now people can return home. I guess we say this with one word of caution – whilst there is no longer restrictions on being able to go down into the beach, please do exercise prudent judgement. We are still asking people to take care,” Ms Allan said.

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