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April storm response to be reviewed

Published: 31 May 2018

An independent review of the response by Auckland’s emergency management agencies to the major storm event that hit the region in Auckland will be carried out in the coming months.

The review, scoped by the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Coordinating Executive Group (CEG) and endorsed by the council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Committee, will identify successes and areas for improvement, as well as any steps that could be taken to mitigate future risks.

Mayor Phil Goff says the April storm impacted hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders and is a wake-up call for Aucklanders to be prepared for increasingly more frequent weather events.

"This storm is yet another reminder that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and can have devastating impacts. Each time Auckland responds, we must take the opportunity to review our performance and look for ways to improve."

“We have also made a long term commitment in our budget planning to improve the resilience of our region’s infrastructure and ensure our service delivery operations are up to scratch,” he says.

Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Committee Chair Sharon Stewart acknowledged the scale of the April storm and depth of the Auckland agencies’ response.

“Emergency responders, council staff and volunteers knocked on more than 7,000 doors, distributed 21,500 litres of drinking water and delivered 273 portable toilets.

"This was the biggest power outage in New Zealand history. Widespread power outages have a tremendous effect on all aspects of daily life and this response required all agencies in the CDEM Group to put their heads together to communicate with and support affected communities.

“As emergency-focussed agencies we plan and prepare for situations like this but there is nothing like a major response to test your systems and look for ways to make them stronger. We look forward to working together with our colleagues across the group to review how we performed in April,” says Councillor Stewart.

Approximately 183,000 Auckland households (around 30 per cent of the region) were affected by power outages, with some without power for more than a week after the storm hit. This impacted on communication and telecommunication, some households ability to pump water for sewage systems, food storage and preparation, and heating.

External review

The Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Coordinating Executive Group (CEG) approved an external review of the 10 April Storm response on 3 May 2018, to understand and capture successes and any improvements.

The final report will cover both learnings and recommendations – this includes coverage of issues which are systemic in nature and can be applied to future events.

The final report is to be considered by the Auckland CDEM Coordinating Executive Group at its meeting on 5 November 2018.

Auckland Emergency Management’s overview of the April storm, including the scope of the independent review, can be read on the council’s website.