THESE are the eye-opening maps which reveal the areas which would be evacuated if a land-threat tsunami were to strike our coastlines.
The maps, released by the NSW State Emergency Service today, highlight the areas where residents and workers would have to move to higher ground.
While the SES stresses the likelihood of such an event remains quite low, it was vital a plan was in place and people were aware of it.
The emergency service also stresses the release of the maps have nothing to do with the wild weather set to strike Australia’s east coast.
But that didn’t stop concerns growing on social media that the maps were some form of ominous disaster warning.
The SES posted the maps to its Facebook page earlier today and the post has already attracted hundreds of comments.
Facebook user Samantha Winter posted: “Wtf … Is there a reason you are posting this with a storm coming?
Another Donald Williams wrote: “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 …”
However the SES social media team responded to the hundreds of comments reassuring people it was simply “a set of maps showing areas that will be asked to evacuate IF a warning were issued”.
Other users thanked the emergency service for the info, and reminded people how rare such disasters were.
Shell Perry posted: “Thank you for the info. For those people getting anxious — have a think …
In all the years that this country has been here in it’s current position/shape on the planet, how many tsunamis has it experienced?”
SES spokeswoman Becky Collings told news.com.au that it was vital to remember that responding to disasters was the agency’s primary purpose.
“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,” she said.
“The risk of a tsunami hitting the east coast of Australia is very low but it is not out of the question.”
She said the agency had an obligation to make people aware that there were plans in place in place to deal with such disasters.
Ms Collings also added the maps didn’t show which areas would be flooded or hit by a tsunami but rather are areas that simply would be evacuated first.
The SES had planned to release the maps today, regardless of weather circumstances and said tsunamis were not weather related but often the result of earthquakes.
It is the first time the agency has released pictorial maps such as these.
In the event of a land-based tsunami hitting, the SES said people should move to higher ground at least 10m above sea level or, if possible, one kilometre away from coastline and rivers.
Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott the release of the mapping is part of its work to build preparedness and community resilience.
“Importantly, the maps show areas which would be evacuated and not areas which would definitely be inundated with water,” he said.
Such maps would be used by the SES in any response planning.
According to these maps, the airport, parts of the city and a lot of the city’s coastal areas would be evacuated first.
Marine-threat tsunamis occur around every six years, but in most cases remain dangerous at sea due to strong currents and huge waves.
There has been no record of a land-threat tsunami in Australia since European settlement.