Civil defence debrief highlights growing climate change challenges
Ruapehu civil defence and other agencies involved in the response to the cyclone and tornado events that struck the
district recently have undertaken a comprehensive debrief of both response efforts today.
Ruapehu Emergency Management Officer Nick Watson said that while the overall response to both events went well there is
always something that can be learnt.
“The debrief process is a ‘warts and all’ look and what we did well and what could be improved upon with the objective
of organizational learning and helping to ensure we respond even more efficiently and effectively next time,” said Mr
“While both events could be considered small in civil defence terms they caused major damage and disruption to the
communities they impacted upon and for a small Council like Ruapehu place a significant demand on our staff and other
Both events highlight the impact of climate change as we experience a lot more frequent, geographically smaller, but
significantly more intense weather events that are very hard to predict and cause a lot of damage in the area they hit.
The cyclone over 7-8 March caused multiple large slips and destroyed farm fencing, tracks, culverts and district roads
requiring Council to assist with the flying in of water tanks, culverts, food and other supplies to affected areas where
Major slips also trapped over 100 tourists at the Blue Duck lodge at Whakahoro on the Retaruke River who needed to be
evacuated by helicopter.
The National Park tornado on 10 April tracked along a narrow path where it caused significant property damage making a
number of families homeless and requiring part of the village to be cordoned off.
Between them the Council response and infrastructure recovery cost is estimated to be in excess of $1 million which is a
lot for a small rural Council.”