REVEALED: How parts of Christchurch could be washed away if ‘worst case scenario’ tsunami strikes
- New report found that high-level tsunami could submerge coastal Christchurch
- Suburbs as far inland as Avonside and Waltham could be submerged
- Christchurch Council-funded report is to help residents prepare for disaster
Giant 9.5m waves travelling 40km/h with the power to move shipping containers would smash New Zealand’s third biggest city leaving more than 70sq/km under water and beaches and harbours in tatters if a once-in-a-lifetime tsunami was to hit.
Almost 5 per cent of Christchurch from the coast to Avonside and Waltham would be wiped out, according to a shocking natural disaster report Stuff reports.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research report was commissioned by Christchurch City Council as it prepares for a ‘worst case scenario’.
The city has already been devastated by major earthquakes with 185 people dying in 2011 and is on a major fault line making it susceptible to major destruction if a South American earthquake was to occur.
Parts of Christchurch could be completely destroyed if a worst-case tsunami hits the coastal city, a report has claimed (Pictured: Christchurch during a storm in 2014)
The report was modelled on the event of a one-in-a-500 year and one-in-2500 year South American tsunami triggered from 9.28 and 9.49 magnitude earthquakes.
If a rare South American tsunami hit, it could swamp Christchurch with 1.06 metres of water.
Seawater could wear away the sand dunes in Brighton causing even more devastation.
In the port town of Lyttelton, it’s feared a tsunami could even dislodge shipping containers and move them around the harbour.
If a one-in-a-500 year event hit, 39 sq km of Christchurch would be up to 5.4km deep near the river Waimakariri’s mouth.
This would effect the floodplains of the Styx River, Heathcote and Avon Rivers and the Brooklands Lagoon.
Christchurch City Council Infrastructure, Transportation and Environment committee chairwoman Cr Pauline Cotter said the city had to be prepared for the worst.
She said that Christchurch residents acknowledged that it may not be 500 years until the next event.
The report, by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), also said the best-case scenario, a one-in-a-500 year event, would still see parts of Christchurch badly flooded
‘The fact we have now endured so many disasters means we know it is possible. We no longer put this into the ‘well, that will never happen’ category,’ she told Stuff.
Cr Cotter said the report will allow them plan escape routes and evacuation plans, saying she didn’t want residents heading to the same evacuation points in the event of a tsunami.
Cr Cotter said there may be some catastrophic results, which include the dislodged shipping containers floating around the Lyttelton Harbour, which could prove to be out of their hands.
‘That could be life-threatening,’ she said.
The council’s infrastructure, transportation and environment committee will discuss the findings at its Wednesday meeting.
As worrying as the report may be to some, Infrastructure, transportation and environment committee chairwoman Cr Pauline Cotter said it will allow residents to prepare for a catastrophic event