Christchurch Quake Information Update 26

( 1712hrs, 7 September

An extensive number of aftershocks of up to Magnitude 5.4 have occurred since the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on 4 September. The likelihood of aftershocks of up to around Magnitude 6 will remain for the next week.

Aftershocks will continue to affect response and recovery operations (e.g. rail and buildings). Weather may also affect the response, such as rainfall remobilising silt into wastewater systems. Wind and rain may further compromise damaged buildings.

New Welfare Centre in Selwyn
Rolleston Community Centre is now active as a Welfare Centre for all Selwyn Residents. The Community Centre is located at 94 Rolleston Drive. Additional Welfare Centres will be opened in other locations around the District in the next 24 hours. The Selwyn District Council is also running a Call Centre – phone 03 347 2800 or 03 318 8338.

EQC damage claims
The best option for lodging a claim is likely to be EQC’s website:

As at late morning today EQC had received 21,800 claims for damage to residential property in Canterbury from Saturday’s earthquake. The total figure will be at least 100,000. Based on the likely number and the nature of the claims the total cost to EQC of the disaster is likely to be at the upper end of the $1b-$2b range previously advised.

Many people have been unable to lodge a claim so far due to over-loading of the lines as well as insufficient numbers of call centre staff to receive claims. EQC is rapidly increasing numbers of lines and call centre staff and expect that the problem will ease over the next few days.

Those with more minor claims are advised to delay contacting EQC for a few days at least and a week or so if possible. However, they do want to hear as soon as possible from those with more major claims such as those involving serious structural damage and those where the habitability of their home is in question.

EQC continues to issue advice on what should and should not be done about any damage and mess.
If possible, take photos before moving anything or tidying up. That makes assessment of the claim easier
If you are able to, essential services, like toilets and water systems can be repaired – but people should keep everything the repairer replaces, and keep a copy of the bill
Spillages or crockery and glass breakages can be cleared up, but don’t throw anything not perishable away yet. Ruined or spilt food and other perishables can be disposed of, but people should list the items as they bury, burn, or dump them.
Important numbers to ring:

Earthquake Government Helpline (24 hours): 0800 779 997
Healthline (24 hours): 0800 611 116
Earthquake Commission (EQC): 0800 DAMAGE 326 243
For current updates visit the Environment Canterbury website

For Non-English language speakers who need support, the Language Line service which provides interpreters in forty languages is available via the Earthquake Government Helpline (24 hours): 0800 779 997, and Healthline (24 hours): 0800 611 116

See also: Earthquake welfare information in 40 languages (doc 180k)

Offers of assistance
There have been numerous offers of assistance from businesses and members of the public wanting to help. These have been gratefully received. We now have sufficient resources so please do not contact us with additional offers of assistance.

Making a donation to the NZ Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal
People wanting to donate goods to those affected by the earthquake are requested to make cash donations instead.
– Make a secure online donation now to the New Zealand Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal
– Make an automatic $20 donation by phoning 0900 33 200
– At any branch of Post Shop Kiwibank, ANZ, National, ASB, BNZ and TSB throughout New Zealand
– At any Red Cross service centre or branch nationwide by sending a cheque (made payable to: New Zealand Red Cross) to: Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, Red Cross House, PO Box 12140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144.

100% of all money donated to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal will go to the Appeal. More information:

People asked to put off non-essential travel to Christchurch
People who are planning on visiting Christchurch in the coming week are being advised to put off their travel plans unless it is essential they visit the area. For further information visit the Environment Canterbury website.

Emergency status
No national declaration of emergency has been made.

Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District have declared a state of local emergency. Christchurch City has extended their state of emergency to Wednesday 8 September 2010.

The states of local emergency for Waimakariri District and Selwyn District are in effect for seven days.

Restricted areas
The cordons in central Christchurch city and Kaiapoi are still in place. Waimakariri District Council is reminding people that unless they reside in the Kaiapoi or Coastal beach areas that they should stay away from these areas.

The Christchuch cordon has been expanded this morning to support repeated assessments caused by aftershocks. Police are working with building safety assessors, and will seek to reduce these today.

Waimakariri District Council is reminding people that unless they reside in the Kaiapoi or Coastal beach areas that they should stay away from these areas.

Water and waste water
Potable water remains a concern for all three Territorial Authorities. A “boil water” notice is in place in parts of all affected areas. Water tankers are delivering water in the Waimakariri District and Christchurch City.

Sewerage and water supply infrastructure continue to be affected in the low lying eastern areas of Christchurch City and Waimakariri District as well as rural areas in Selwyn District.

There is currently discharge into the Halswell River in Selwyn District. For Christchurch City, waste water trunk mains are intact but there is significant localised damage, and the waste water treatment plant is still running on bypass.

Go to the Environment Canterbury website for information about emergency water locations.
For information about storing or treating water visit the Get Thru website.

The weather forecast through to Thursday is for cool conditions and patchy rain, returning to mainly fine conditions on Friday.

All schools and preschools in Christchurch City, Selwyn District and the Kaiapoi area of Waimakariri District will remain closed until Wednesday morning at 9am. Decisions to reopen will be reviewed today.

At 1000hrs, 57 of the 165 state schools in the districts had been inspected, with 21 requiring further specialist inspection. Five have structural issues that will prevent opening.

For further information visit the Ministry of Education website.

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
A total of 130 staff (20 teams), seven search dogs and two full caches of equipment have been deployed to the region. 200 jobs have been assigned to the teams, with a focus on securing the City cordon area. See the New Zealand Fire Service website for more information.

Enquiries for emergency assistance payments continue to be made for food, petrol and accommodation.

Steps are being taken to ensure that the elderly and rest homes are captured in support arrangements. Ministry of Social Development have contacted 11200 superannuation clients living on their own to check on their safety. A multi-agency team is making contact with vulnerable people in the worst affected areas.

Two welfare centres are still open in Christchurch. These centres are open 24 hours: Welfare Centres – Canterbury Earthquake (Ministry of Social Development website). The welfare centre at Burnside High School is closed due to aftershock damage. 320 people were accommodated at welfare centres overnight Monday.

There is one centre open in the Waimakariri District.

Rolleston Community Centre is now active as a Welfare Centre for all Selwyn Residents. The Community Centre is located at 94 Rolleston Drive. Additional Welfare Centres will be opened in other locations around the District in the next 24 hours. The Selwyn District Council is also running a Call Centre – phone 03 347 2800 or 03 318 8338.

Psychosocial needs are gaining importance and likely to continue to increase. A psychosocial support strategy is being developed with welfare and health agencies, including information for first responders.

Hospitals and medical centres
All primary health and accident medical services are operational, with the exception of businesses in the cordoned area.

Ministry of Health is liaising with ACC to ensure people on home support are being cared for.

Public Health
Public health remains the main area of concern, with damage to sewerage and water systems expected to cause issues for at least another week. Assistance is being provided from the New Zealand Defence Force and Regional Public Health.

For other health advice call the Healthline: 0800 611 116.
For information on protecting yourself in an emergency, visit the Ministry of Health website.
For advice on food safety visit the New Zealand Food Safety Authority website.

Building Safety
Local authorities are prioritising and managing the official inspection of buildings.
The City Council will be classifying all buildings in the cordoned-off area–

• Red placards for no entry
• Yellow for restricted use
• Green for no restrictions on a building’s use

Of the buildings in the CBD assessed so far:
• 79% have received a green placard (safe for use)
• 16% have received a yellow placard (limited access allowed, further assessment
• 5% have received a red placard (considered unsafe, and isolated with barriers)

Property owners should contact their local authority if they have any questions in relation building safety.

More health and safety advice for employers / employees has been issued by the Department of Labour.

EQC continues to receive claims, both on the 0800 DAMAGE phone number and through the EQC website:

There have been 21,800 claims for damage to residential property with EQC so far. EQC has seven personnel on the ground looking at uninhabitable and non-weatherproof homes largely to help set priorities for the field office staff. However, they are also identifying and inspecting some homes where damage is clearly in excess of the EQC maximum cover of $100,000+GST with a view to EQC starting to make pay-outs by early next week.

By Friday EQC will have 36 trained personnel in the field and the first field office open. A second office should be open two three days after that and then a third a week after that. EQC expects that there will eventually be more than 10 field offices each with around 40 staff comprising loss adjustors, estimators, engineers and support staff. The offices will be at various locations throughout the region.

Contact has already been made with property owners who have registered claims that their properties are uninhabitable.

Housing New Zealand is working with Christchurch City Council to prepare a joint response to medium term housing needs.

Commercial property in Kaiapoi
The central business district of Kaiapoi is still being assessed with approximately 22 buildings still being deemed as too dangerous to enter.

Christchurch Airport is open and all service currently operating. There was a temporary closure of the domestic terminal this morning due to aftershocks.

All main urban arterials in Christchurch are open, except those in the CBD area. These are not closed due to the state of the roads, but due to risk from unsafe buildings. The State Highway network in Canterbury has been checked, including structural checks.

Bridges have all been checked and culverts are now being checked for displacement.
SH 77 Glentunnel to Glenroy closed due to an underslip moving further but a signed detour is in place.

SH 74 is closed: Anzac Drive (between Travis Road and New Brighton road) and Dyers Road (between Pages Road and Metro Place) in Christchurch City. Alternative routes are available, however, fixing this will be a priority as this is the route to the Port.

Metro bus services are operating on Tuesday 7 September for Christchurch, Selwyn, and Waimakariri districts, with some exceptions. Be aware the situation in the city may change, so the location of the drop off points may change.

For further information go to

Lyttelton Port report that the channel has been surveyed and deemed safe for the tanker due on 13 September 2010.

Following the aftershocks over night all train services have been stopped in central Canterbury. All train services in the central Canterbury area bounded by Ashburton/Springfield/Christchurch have been stopped while structures and track inspections are carried out. These are expected to be completed by midday, after which services are expected to resume. The TranzAlpine has been cancelled today, and coal trains from the West Coast have stopped operations.

Expecting to have fewer than 1000 customers without power by this evening, and all to have power by the end of the week.

Some limited outages, but services are being restored to normal.

A picture is emerging of significant change to the natural physical environment due to ground displacement and shaking–induced extensive liquefaction, including changes to water courses.

Waste and pollution
Waterways in the affected area are likely to be contaminated with wastewater discharge and from polluted surface runoff.

Farming and agriculture community
There are some concerns about changes to groundwater and therefore to irrigation schemes.

Public Safety Messages
People in the affected area should:

– Boil all water before drinking or consuming with food.
– Expect aftershocks. Each time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on.
– Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. When outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas.
– Look for and extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so. Fire is a significant hazard following earthquakes.
– Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
– Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.
– Help people who require special assistance – infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
– Detailed safety advice will come from local authorities and emergency services in the area. People should act on it promptly.

For further information visit the Environment Canterbury website.

Media Release 7 September 2010 from Civil Defence.