It could take as little as 20 minutes for a tsunami to hit Napier after an earthquake. And with Napier Port stacked with logs and containers, water alone may be the least of the city's worries when the big one hits the coast.
A tsunami could sweep many thousands of logs and containers across the region, significantly hampering rescue and recovery efforts.
A very large earthquake poses an extreme theat of Tsunami to Hawke's Bay, with tectonic plates colliding deep in the Hikurangi Trench offshore.
A study in Gisborne highlighted the threat of logs to the city if a large tsunami was to strike.
Gisborne is not a container port.
Napier Port's senior communications advisor Chris Lonergan said its primary focus was the safety and wellbeing of people working on the port.
"Recently, Napier Port has done a lot of work to advance our emergency preparedness planning, in particular our response to a significant earthquake and tsunami event," he said.
"We safely and successfully completed a port-wide evacuation exercise of approximately 400 people from Napier Port, including our Thames Street depot sites, back in September 2020."
The evacuation exercise was very valuable when the port was instructed to evacuate in March by the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, due to a tsunami risk.
He said any effects of the dispersal of logs following a large Tsunami should be directed to Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Manager Ian Macdonald said his organisation was concerned about tsunami debris in general.
"Obviously there will be more than just logs and containers from the port.
"You're talking about buildings as well that are along the coastline.
"There are a number of containers that are actually inland from the port as well.
"Debris is made up of a lot of things - trees, bits of buildings - so it is not just from the port."
He said the 2011 Japan tsunami showed debris could travel a long way inland and do a lot of damage.
Places like Napier Hill would provide safe haven for Napier people, who were advised to move immediately on foot if they were in a tsunami inundation zone after a "long and strong" earthquake.
"Long is over a minute and strong is where you have difficulty standing up and things are falling off shelves and off the walls."
Japan has purpose-built structures for people to evacuate to in case of tsunami.
The New Zealand Government has released plans on how they might be constructed. Just where they might be placed in Napier is yet to be determined.
Some parts of Napier are below sea level.
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