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Aftershocks

Litia Cava And Nasik Swami
Friday, January 06, 2017

THE Mineral Resources Department recorded 13 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 on the Richter scale until yesterday after Wednesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred south of Fiji,

The permanent secretary for the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, Malakai Finau, said with seismic events of such nature being recorded people should not panic, but be alert.

"There are quite a lot of aftershocks actually. By this (yesterday) morning, I counted about 13, magnitude of about 5.0 aftershocks," he said.

Mr Finau said the aftershocks were normal after an earthquake such as Wednesday's.

He said there was a possibility that the plates surrounding the locality of Wednesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake could have vastly shifted.

"It is possible given the magnitude and the number of aftershocks that's happening."

Mr Finau said he noticed the aftershocks were occurring at almost the similar depth of Wednesday's quake, confirming the aftershocks were related to the major earthquake.

"Recently we have had about similar 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Solomons, so that seems to be normal as aftershocks," he said.

"For me, it's a relief because the earthquakes occur as a result of a buildup of pressure and these aftershocks, they release that sort of pressure and sort of prevents the occurrence of big events.

"Usually, big events occur suddenly without any pre-shocks or foreshocks.

"On the positive side of the aftershock is that it continues to reduce the pressure buildup in that particular location but you never know pressure can be building up in another area."

"We should always be alert, because we do not want to unnecessarily create fear in people in the country regarding some big earthquakes which may or may not generate tsunami like one that happened yesterday (Wednesday)."

Meanwhile, National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) acting director Sunia Ratulevu said the late issue of a tsunami alert by the Mineral Resource Department led to the failure of tsunami sirens being activated.

This was his response to queries on why the two sirens in the Central Business District (CBD) failed to sound and warn members of the public.

One of the sirens is situated at the University of the South Pacific Lower Campus in Laucala Bay,Suva while the other is at the Lami Town Council.

Mr Ratulevu said NDMO liaises with the Mineral Resources Department before issuing any disaster warning.

"We have a formal arrangement in place and that is in regards to the issuing of warnings to the media and also members of the public thus there was a bit of miscommunication which caused the delay of issuing of the tsunami alert."

However, he said that the ministry was still waiting for the approval of the National Tsunami Disaster Plan by Cabinet.

It is understood that the cost of installing a tsunami siren is $30,000 and the ministry was still awaiting funding assistance from Pacific Community and Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for the installation of the five new tsunami sirens along the Suva-Nasinu corridor.

Meanwhile, Mr Finau had said earlier that the ministry had basic monitoring systems in place but there was still room for improvement.

"Also for us, agencies directly involved to find ways in which we can improve communications with each other and most importantly to the public,"he said.

"People should understand there is very little response time, especially response time for the agencies to contact each other because the communication lines get jammed."

"Recently we have had similar 7.0 magnitude earthquakes in Solomons, so that seems to be normal as aftershocks," he said.

"For me, it's a relief because the earthquakes occur as a result of a build-up of pressure and these aftershocks, they release that sort of pressure and sort of prevents the occurrence of big events.

"Usually, big events occur suddenly without any pre-shocks or foreshocks.

"On the positive side of the aftershock is that it continues to reduce the pressure build-up in that particular location but you never know pressure can be building up in another area.

"We should always be alert, because we do not want to unnecessarily create fear in people in the country regarding some big earthquakes which may or may not generate tsunami like one that happened yesterday (Wednesday)."

Meanwhile, National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) acting director Sunia Ratulevu said the late issue of a tsunami alert by the Mineral Resources Department led to the failure of tsunami sirens being activated.

This was his response to queries on why the two sirens in the Central Business District (CBD) failed to sound and warn members of the public.

One of the sirens is situated at the University of the South Pacific lower campus in Laucala Bay, Suva while the other is at the Lami Town Council.

Mr Ratulevu said NDMO liaises with the Mineral Resources Department before issuing any disaster warning.

"We have a formal arrangement in place and that is in regards to the issuing of warnings to the media and also members of the public thus there was a bit of miscommunication which caused the delay of issuing of the tsunami alert."

However, he said that the ministry was still waiting for the approval of the National Tsunami Disaster Plan by Cabinet.

It is understood that the cost of installing a tsunami siren is $30,000 and the ministry was still awaiting funding assistance from Pacific Community and Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for the installation of the five new tsunami sirens along the Suva-Nasinu corridor.

Meanwhile, Mr Finau had said earlier the ministry had basic monitoring systems in place but there was still room for improvement.

"Also for us, agencies directly involved to find ways in which we can improve communications with each other and most importantly to the public," he said.

"People should understand there is very little response time, especially response time for the agencies to contact each other because the communication lines get jammed."








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