Main Findings

The main findings of the Hazards Review report

  •  The West Coast Region is affected by all natural hazards except active volcanism (discounting the remote possibility of ash fallout from a North Island event).
  • The hazards result from the region's position across an actively deforming plate boundary, which controls the very steep, unstable topography and the extreme climatic conditions. The distinct nature of the physical features combine to make the West Coast region unique in New Zealand (and probably the world) in terms of hazard monitoring, data collection, planning and management.
  • Natural hazards in the region are not usually mutually exclusive, and often more than one hazard occurs during significant events.
  • River floods are the most frequent hazard and have caused the most damage. This is due to all the region's main settlements being located on very active flood plains. All have suffered to some extent in historical times.
  •  Earthquakes (especially those associated with the Alpine Fault) have the potential to cause the most severe damage during a single event.
  •  Research for this report has identified rainfall induced landslides as a major, frequent occurring hazard. The most common damage has been to transport routes throughout the region.
  •  River flooding, landslides, earthquakes, snow avalanches, lightning strike and hail have all been recorded as causing loss of life in the region. River flooding has probably caused the most deaths, followed by landslides.
  • River flooding/aggradation, coastal stability, earthquakes and landslides (earthquake generated) have been the most researched of the region's hazards, although many knowledge/information gaps still exist and much of the existing information requires updating. Very little is known about the other hazards in the region.
  • Given the WCRC's limited resources, acceptable ways of encouraging financial support need to be identified, so as the WCRC can effectively and efficiently carry out it's statutory obligations in relation to natural hazard and emergency planning.
Page reviewed: 14 Apr 2014 4:42pm