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Project looks at planning for a major emergency

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Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management is leading a national project aimed at ensuring the country is capable of dealing with the mass evacuation of people following a major emergency.

The Rapid Relief Project has been granted 40 thousand dollars from the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management's Resilience Fund, which provides funding to undertake specific projects that will improve civil defence emergency management capability and contribute towards resilience.

Project Leader, Alison Prins from Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management says while Civil Defence is prepared for responding to large events where the majority of people are able to provide their own shelter, there is a need to plan for events where large numbers of people are affected and displaced.

“We saw this in the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, where thousands of people were left homeless or evacuated from their homes and unable to return for some time,” says Alison Prins.

She says the project will involve scoping the issues and potential need for guidance on rapid relief planning in New Zealand. Rapid relief involves providing immediate resources and assistance to ease the suffering of those impacted by an emergency.

“We will review the country’s existing arrangements, identify any gaps and issues and report back on how New Zealand could improve its rapid relief capability.”

Alison Prins says they will be speaking with a wide range of national and international stakeholders, drawing on knowledge from around the world.

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