Tsunami plan now in place.
Tsunami plan now in place.

Tsunami risk for Bundaberg

ACCORDING to the Tsunami Response Plan recently approved by Bundaberg Regional Council, 8700 houses and units in communities from Winfield to Buxton would be at risk of inundation if a big wave hit.

The maps shows that all of Woodgate and Moore Park Beach, half of Burnett Heads and much of Bargara could be underwater in the event of a tsunami — along with four schools, an aged-care facility, two kindergartens and numerous camping and tourist sites.

Mr Turnbull said it was likely there would be only 15 to 30 minutes between the initial warnings and the wave hitting, so it was vital to have a plan in place.

“The plan seems to be well thought-out, and I commend the council for being proactive and getting it out,” he said.

“We will get more and more tsunami warnings as we become more aware of them — in most cases, the warnings will turn out to be nothing but we must not get blase about it. One day we will get a serious warning, and it will be real.”

Mr Turnbull said Bundaberg may be at risk from an tsunami caused by an under-sea avalanche rather than an earthquake.

“Any tsunami generated in Bundaberg is likely to be caused by a massive mud slide at the Continental Drop-off, 20km east of Lady Elliot Island,” he said.

He believes a small mudslide off Lady Elliot Island in 1997 disrupted wave patterns and was felt inland at Bundaberg — a sample of what could be to come if a larger avalanche took place.

But Bundaberg Regional Council’s local disaster management group executive officer John Clerke said it was important to remember the Bundaberg coastline was still a safe place to live.

“The chances of a tsunami in Australian waters is exceptionally remote,” Mr Clerke said.

“The plan was formulated after the tsunamis in Asia, when all of the local governments on the east coast of Australia decided to put together tsunami response plans. But the real issue is that people should be prepared for cyclones and severe storms.”

Mr Clerk said the disaster management group had identified a number of safe evacuation points and transport methods, but these would only be released to the public in an emergency situation.

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