Canterbury Services Recovering Following Earthquake

10 September 2010

Civil Defence Director, John Hamilton says public services are recovering in the Canterbury region, despite a series of aftershocks that accelerated this morning after a relative lull yesterday.

This morning there have been three earthquakes of greater than magnitude 4 (one soon after midnight and two just after 7am). The possibility of a large aftershock up to magnitude 6 remains though the likelihood of this is decreasing as time passes (currently less than 10 per cent chance).

Public services across the region continue to be restored despite some aftershock disruption yesterday. The pace of restoration has slowed because the systems now being repaired are more complex.

“Welfare centres continue to do sterling work supporting displaced people, with about 300 people staying overnight at the two Christchurch City welfare centres,” said Mr Hamilton. “The centres at Kaiapoi and Rolleston are open today and are providing welfare services, with Kaiapoi open 6.30pm and Rolleston open till 10pm.”

“We’re shifting our efforts toward assessing people’s needs; welfare staff are working with building inspectors to see that the appropriate services are provided to the residential population, including psycho-social support.”

The lifting of the cordon in the Christchurch CBD planned for this morning has been delayed due to concern over public safety, but the intention is to lift it as soon as possible.

The New Zealand Defence Force is supporting police in Christchurch and over the past two days has moved over 300 prisoners out of Christchurch. A further 62 prisoners will be moved today.

By 8am today the 0800 Government helpline (0800 779 997) had received almost 9000 calls, with most calls focused on damage to property, employment subsidies and food grants.

People and Communities
States of emergency exist locally in Christchurch City and Waimakariri District (until Noon Wednesday 15 September 2010) and Selwyn District (until Saturday, being reviewed daily).
The cordon in central Christchurch city remains in place, with officials concerned over possible danger to the public. Access to the Kaiapoi CBD is possible between 7am and 6pm.
Agencies are identifying volunteers who can be rapidly mobilised into Canterbury to provide support. Victim support is providing 55 staff trained in psychosocial work and St John has offered 160 volunteers. The Ministry of Social Development has contacted 15,000 out of 18,000 superannuation clients who live on their own to make sure they are safe – mainly those over 80 or with a disability allowance.
Government has set aside $7.7 million for a special Community Response Fund for social service providers in Canterbury.
For employers, the Government’s Earthquake Support Subsidy aims to help companies with fewer than 20 staff pay their employees if they can’t open for business or trade as normal.

Community Infrastructure
Some schools opened yesterday, with more planning to open today. Most schools plan to be open on Monday — dependant on confirmation that facilities are safe. Contact school administration to confirm prior to sending children to school.
Water supplies in Christchurch City and Banks Peninsular have been deemed safe. People in Kaiapoi, Kairaki, Pines Beach and Malvern Hills should continue to boil water before drinking.
All hospitals are fully operational. Ministry of Health are helping Canterbury DHB to source staff.

Property Status
Earthquake Commission continues to receive claims. By 6pm yesterday, EQC had received 36,088 claims and currently expects to receive over 100,000 claims. Total cost of the disaster is likely to be at the upper end of earlier estimates.
Council staff and building inspectors are evaluating buildings and checking on the welfare of residents. The visits take about 10 minutes for each home. 1500 homes have already been assessed. Priority is going to properties which pose an immediate danger to people or other property. News to come from Christchurch City on medium and long term housing needs of people whose houses have been marked unsafe or restricted access.
About 1,800 commercial buildings in Christchurch City have been assessed.

Transport Infrastructure
All main urban arterial roads in Christchurch are open, except those in the cordoned area of the CBD.
Local roads are being surveyed by local councils. Bridges and roads are being repaired throughout the affected area. An accurate picture of costs is expected in coming weeks.
Most bus services have resumed.
The New Zealand Transport Agency now estimates repair costs for the state highway network are in the order of $6-10 million.
The airport is open and operational, with terminal buildings have certified as completely safe.
Lyttelton Port is fully operational, interrupted by aftershocks.
Railways. Track repairs are underway, enabling partial use.

Electricity – Orion working on faults and confident they will have everyone connected by Friday night. MainPower has installed five generators in Kaiapoi which is expected to result in most areas of Kaiapoi having their electricity restored. Remaining infrastructure issues affecting power supply will be addressed over coming days.
Telecommunications – gradually being restored to normal
Water – a “boil water” notice is still in place for parts of the Waimakiriri District. Water supplies have been restored to 90 per cent of the district.
Waste water – sewerage continues to be a problem for Waimakiriri and parts of Christchurch city.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Supply
Both the major consumer goods companies – Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises – are meeting demand across the South Island through relocation of goods and providing goods from the North Island where appropriate.

Industrial areas are being inspected for contaminant release. Stopbank inspections continuing.

Rural Status
A Rural Recovery Group for the Canterbury region has been established and a rural recovery coordinator was appointed yesterday who will act as a main liaison person for the sub groups established to cover specific issues. These groups are: Communication, Coordination, Water, People.
A Federated Farmers help line: 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646). Federated Farmers has field staff out visiting farmers. A meeting was held in Darfield yesterday to discuss recovery strategies.
Dairy NZ has staff visiting affected farmers with an estimated 71 adversely affected farms.
Growing concerns about effluent management and infrastructure damage.
Water – there are some issues with water including wells with excessive volumes of silt locking up pumps and blocking filters.
Grain silos – 53 silos have fallen over or are damaged.
Electricity – an estimated 500 households without electricity at 8 September 2010.

There will be a negative economic effect to the Canterbury region and New Zealand economy over coming months. This is likely to be followed by a period of sustained economic recovery as reconstruction and repairs get underway.

Recovery – Several meetings taking place today or tomorrow to complete the Canterbury Recovery Strategy. The establishment of community recovery centres involving a range of agencies is being considered. A Christchurch City Building Recovery Office will open on Monday 13 September.
Hazards – Waimakiriri River is contaminated in its lower reaches. Public are advised to avoid contact with river and seawater and not collect or consume any fish and shellfish.
Weather – no major adverse weather events forecast for the next two days.

Civil Defence Director, John Hamilton said the main priorities are to continue the recovery work targeting the areas needing attention.

“Local, regional and central authorities are focusing on restoring loss of sewerage services, addressing housing needs, provision of psychological services, ensuring negative business impacts are reduced and setting up recovery structures.”

“We are absolutely focused on rolling out the recovery across the affected areas of Canterbury. We expect this to be a long and complex process,“ said Mr Hamilton.

Assistance available:
Earthquake Government Helpline (24 hours): 0800 779 997
Healthline (24 hours): 0800 611 116
Earthquake Commission (EQC): 0800 DAMAGE 326 243
Chrischurch City Council Helpline: 03 941 8999
Federated Farmers Helpline: 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646)

For current updates visit:

Media Release 10 September 2010 from Civil Defence.