Rural people need to plan for and learn about disaster survival and the array of disaster types they may have to deal with, writes Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay provincial president Jim Galloway.

What the future holds for us is largely unknown but if history has taught us anything it is that it is safe to plan for disaster.

The Hawke's Bay is no stranger to adverse events. Our history is marked by earthquakes, floods and fires so we need to think about disaster planning.

Recently I attended a workshop on the Hikurangi Subduction zone to learn about how our region would be impacted by a major earthquake (magnitude 8.9, the last one of which was about 500 years ago).


Read more from Federated Farmers here.

The major takeaway was the isolation we as a region, particularly rural people, are more than likely going to find ourselves flung into.

If a major shake happened here we would be flattened and alone.

Survivors in the Bay area would have to be able to look after themselves for a lot longer than probably anyone would expect after the predicted shakes, fires and five meter tsunami.

We probably wouldn't be able to easily communicate as fibre cables that feed into cellphone towers would be shot and massive slips would block most roads.

The Government would focus its initial responses where the biggest human populations are, and that's Auckland and Wellington followed by other urban centres.

What we know now is that if disaster strikes we are on our own for at least three days with little or no communications or electricity, but that's still a best case scenario.

What the recent Nelson fire has shown us is that no one has planned for a 10 day-plus active fire event. But this is now a reality for some.


We need people to start planning for and learning about disaster survival and the array of disaster types they may have to deal with.

Also practise and ensure everyone in your family knows the plans.

The community will need better resourcing in terms of funding community resilience, coordinated efforts between central and local government and community groups.

That planning should be under way now, with all regions having common systems so anyone from anywhere can immediately step in and not have to spend valuable time getting up to speed.