Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Dismal number of Aucklanders prepared for disaster

Only 11 per cent of Aucklanders are prepared for a disaster. Photo / iStock
Only 11 per cent of Aucklanders are prepared for a disaster. Photo / iStock

Auckland Council is planning a "community-specific" approach to encourage the dismal number of Aucklanders prepared for disasters to up their game.

Megastorms, floods, fire, volcanic eruptions and Zika-like pandemics may affect the city -- yet only 11 per cent of Aucklanders are fully prepared for a disaster, the lowest level of any city in New Zealand.

The cost of emergency supplies and a perception of a likelihood of disaster were the most common reasons residents were unprepared.

The need for community-specific approaches was identified in the council's draft Civil Defence and Emergency Management plan for 2016 to 2021 released today.

Auckland Civil Defence director John Dragicevich said a "one-size-fits-all" approach didn't work.

"Auckland is such a diverse place that we need to think about how we can get messages through to each community," he said.

"It's been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and that city's population has still not recovered.

"We need to protect our population of 1.57 million people from 180 cultures so that, should disaster strike our communities will [survive]."

Mr Dragicevich was unsure if there were any ethnic groups or communities the council particularly needed to get messages through to.

However, the council would engage with community leaders to work out the best way for individual communities to prepare for disasters.

Social media campaigns was one way to educate specific groups, Mr Dragicevich said.

Aucklanders can contribute to the draft plan on shapeauckland.co.nz until April 18

How to prepare for disasters:

• Learn about disasters and how to keep safe

• Create and practise a household emergency plan that allows you to survive for three or more days

• Assemble and maintain emergency survival items such as a torch with spare batteries and a first aid kit

• Have a getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry

• Go to getthru.govt.nz for more details

- NZ Herald

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