MCDEM Poorly Prepared

It is rumoured that a report on tsunami risk and readiness in New Zealand will be released today by the Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM).

If the rumour is true, then MCDEM are, as usual, hiding their light under a bushel. There is no report available on the Ministry’s website which is running like a three-legged dog.

The website, which is advertised in the emergency section at the back of the Yellow Pages, should be designed for fast, effective dissemination of information on earthquakes, floods, tsunami alerts, and other disaster events. However, it is loaded with graphics and poorly laid out and maintained. As a means for keeping the public informed it is a dismal failure.

The publications section needs an urgent revamp, and an effort should be made to provide issue dates for the files that are available. Interestingly, the search function which should be able to filter the few publications with release dates does not work.

The Ministry has been criticised in the past for poor response to flood events, and undertook to review its performance. Part of this review was to include a re-assessment of its public communications. Clearly, this has not resulted in much-needed improvement of its website.

afternoon update: Two tsunami-related reports have now appeared on MCDEM’s website. They are not logically filed under “What’s New” or “Publications” but can be found under the “Favourites” tab at the left of the main screen.

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