Saturday, August 17, 2013

Over-reacting to earthquakes

When did this culture of over-reacting to earthquakes start?

Wellington city went crazy yesterday with people pouring out post-quake despite there being no substantial damage. At the other extreme, the school my teenage daughter attends in the city wouldn't let her leave unless a parent collected her, despite the buses running as normal. At least they were until people started driving into the city to collect those stranded by the cancellation of all train services  (there was no damage to tracks either which surely could have been ascertained fairly quickly).

I left home at 3.20 and eventually met her at Dixon St at 5pm. The roads were grid-locked. It took me back to sitting at lights through many change-phases unable to go anywhere having driven in inner London for 5 years. Streets were awash with people going nowhere, along with the traffic.

Some precaution is reasonable but this over-reaction was nonsensical. The quickest way to get out of a city, if indeed the action is warranted, is not to force thousands to pour in to collect friends and family.

It wouldn't have happened in the past.

(And I see Trentham races have been cancelled today purely as a 'precautionary' measure and wonder about the economic cost.)


Anonymous said...

Agree - it was hyped up to the point of stupidity and Wellington could have slumbered on quite safely rather than have thousands out in the streets where anything falling could hit them. I was amazed at the time it took me to get into town from the near north (for work reasons) at about 3.15PM.

Safety is not the point - its obedience to rules no matter how stupid. The great agenda rolls on.


Theresa Bouchard said...

There were over 502 earthquakes yesterday, most focused on the New Zealand area, but it went completely around the Pacific Rim.

These numbers are unprecedented-normally we have per day maximum around 150, 200 if its a really really active day, and that is high. Of those numbers we have 2-3 earthquakes over magnitude 5.0

Yesterday we had 502 earthquakes and 18 were over 5.0-World Records were broken. New Zealanders should be alarmed, I don't think the earthquakes are done- in fact I think today they are going to be just as high if not worse than yesterdays. Be safe!

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Theresa, The over-reaction made us less safe.

S. Beast said...

I work in an earthquake prone building on Willis Street. After the almost biggish quake a month ago I was the only one who didn't show up to our Monday meeting despite being told via the media not to come into the central city unless essential.

Really all this overdone panic has showed us is we need to learn when to worry so we can do it properly.