The NSW State Emergency Service’s new tsunami evacuation maps created furor among the residents. The evacuation maps marked the areas which were at risk and need to be evacuated in case of a tsunami. But people thought that it was a tsunami warning.
People were in panic on Friday when they saw the map that marked the areas which were 10 meters above sea level, 1 km inland and 10 km up an estuary. Despite NSW State Emergency Services’ (SES) assurance that the new map was not a tsunami warning the tumult it brought the people continued.
Initially, the Facebook post featuring the map said, “They represent the areas considered most at risk from modeling of potential tsunami and effects observed elsewhere.”
The tsunami maps marked some areas with red which indicating that people in those areas would be under threat and would need to seek shelter in higher areas. The areas, which are marked red, are Pyrmont, Miller Point, Kirribilli, The Rocks and Double Bay, as per Business Insider. People thought that the storms in NSW have some connection with the tsunami warning.
Within an hour of posting the maps, SES had to post a statement on its Facebook page clarifying that it was not a tsunami warning, stated the Sydney Morning Herald.
SES stated, “Important: This is not a tsunami warning.”
The map was shared around 6000 times on Facebook by Saturday. Liked by around 2400 and people expressed their reactions using emoticons and there were almost 4000 comments. There were hundreds of queries and comments that were answered by SES social media team.
The storms across NSW have prompted 3000 calls for assistance to the SES. There are reports of fallen trees, broken power lines, leaking roofs and a car stuck in the flooding. Notably, people responded in different ways to the SES Facebook post.
A Facebook user Dianne Maye commented with an angry emoticon, “This caused so much fear for people!! Don’t ya think that severe weather warning and putting up these maps at the same time would course confusion and be very misleading.”
Another user Donald William commented, “Shame there wasn’t a rethink on launching this today, with all the East Coast Low Hype going on atm … Considering just how nonsensical some people and organisations can be …”
SES spokesperson Becky Collings told news.com.au that it was very important to remember that the agency’s core purpose is in responding to disasters.
She added, “This is a tool for the SES to use in the event of a tsunami hitting, we don’t want to scare people but we do want them to be aware of it. The risk of a tsunami hitting the east coast of Australia is very low but it is not out of the question.”