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Published: 2011-03-25 00:00:00

Recent earthquakes in Canterbury, the Queensland floods and the Japanese tsunami highlight the potentially devastating impacts of major disasters in the Waikato, says Environment Waikato regional hazards manager Adam Munro.

Recent earthquakes in Canterbury, the Queensland floods and the Japanese tsunami highlight the potentially devastating impacts of major disasters in the Waikato, says Environment Waikato regional hazards manager Adam Munro.

Waikato University is hosting a second regional hazards forum at the university on Thursday 31 March, to which the media and the general public are invited. The forum will be held in the PWC lecture theatre between 7pm and 9m. People are asked to bring a gold coin donation to go towards the Christchurch earthquake appeal.

“The forum will provide the media and the community with a good overview of how hazard risks that we face in the Waikato are managed,” says Mr Munro.

“Last week we heard from scientists who outlined the likely threats and what their key drivers are.

“The impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes, flooding in Queensland and the devastation caused by the Japanese tsunami are clear examples of why we need to take these risks very seriously.”

Mr Munro said river flooding was a particular risk in the Waikato and there was also a focus currently on looking at what eastern Coromandel communities needed to be better prepared for the impacts of a large tsunami generated by local and far away earthquakes.

“As well as these risks, there are active volcanoes in our region and potential for earthquakes along local fault lines, and tornadoes.

“New Zealand ranks fourth in the world for tsunami risk and second in the world for tornado frequency .

“So we can’t afford to be complacent and need to ensure we are managing risks well through such mechanisms as EW’s extensive river flood management system and emergency planning generally.”

The forum on 31 March will hear presentations on various risks and risk management issues. There will be opportunities for questions afterwards.