Whakaari: Govt launch action plan and upgrade monitoring systems

By Aroha Mane

There appear to be more questions than answers when it comes to the Government recovery plan. As the questions continue, the coalition Government launched its plan to prepare the country for any unexpected disasters.

Families of Whakaari travellers and tour staff are still searching for answers following the aftermath. For tour staff, it was meant to be another day at the office. For travellers, it was meant to be the adventure of a lifetime.

In cabinet today the MP for Waiariki, asked the Minister of Civil Defence what actions the National Emergency Management Agency has taken in response to the eruption on Whakaari-White Island?

“To ensure public safety and well-being the national emergency management agency has created a national action plan to coordinate support at a national level for the delivery of essential services to affected families,” says Peeni Henare.

Plans of support which he says will continue throughout the recovery.

“Work and Income can provide financial support for those impacted including for loss of income and housing assistance. ACC can provide support to those who are hurt or injured or of losing a family member as well as payment for medical care.”

The Minister of Police was asked what actions the police had taken in response to Whakaari-White Island.

“The bottom line is that police are doing everything that they can and what is a tragic and significant event. For now our duty and priority as a return of people's loved ones to them,” says Stuart Nash.

That’s the questions which many want answers too.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made this statement to media, “Everyone wants those bodies to come back. Unfortunately overnight we’ve seen a tremor activity and the situation in regards to volatility has worse rather than improved.”

Today Government also announced an action plan to upgrade New Zealand's tsunami monitoring increasing the warning systems from one to fifteen.

"I think ultimately we need to get through the recovery, once we see the findings of those critical investigations then that will help us answer questions and then help with the response."

The Coalition Government will prioritise this and ambitious programme of work for emergency management and rapid response to disasters such as tsunami warnings which will be linked to an Emergency Mobile Alert.

Minister Henare says it’s about saving lives but is it an upgrade that has come too late for the Whakaari victims.