11-16 March 2019 marks the 8 year anniversary of the Great East Japan Tsunami; a timely reminder that we can all prepare a little more for such an event. To mark the occasion, the Bay of Plenty will be practicing their tsunami hikoi in Whakatāne and Ōpōtiki. Evidence suggests that communities who practice their tsunami hikoi are more likely to be safe if their community is hit by a tsunami.
Whakatāne will be practicing their tsunami hikoi on Wednesday 13th March. The first hikoi will begin at 1:30pm with the aim of targeting local schools. The second hikoi will be at 5:30pm and will target the general public. The hīkoi will start from Wharaurangi on the The Strand, and finish at the Camellia Park on Waiewe Street, where spot prizes and a free barbeque will reward those who take part. Whakatāne District Council and Emergency Management Bay of Plenty staff will be on hand to help people create an evacuation plan, along with information packs and household evacuation plans for people to take away.
On Thursday 14 March 2019, between 10.30am – 12.30pm, Ōpōtiki Primary School will be practicing their tsunami evacuation route. The route runs from Ōpōtiki Primary School, directly down SH2 to the OPAC Reserve Area. Other schools will be joining them; parents and the general public are invited to the tsunami evacuation area (finish area) to talk to technical experts about being more prepared.