We all know by now that the new earthquake has created massive destruction and loss of life in Christchurch. Once again, the emergency services and the people have performed admirably. Help is on the way from around New Zealand and overseas. The physical, economic, and social aftershocks of this will be felt for a long time.
Map of emergency shelter, supplies etc plus hazards – here
Key info (info in quotes is from official government websites):
“People in the affected area should:
* Expect aftershocks. Each time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on.
* Check yourself first for injuries and get first aid if necessary before helping injured or trapped persons.
* Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. Use the stairs, not an elevator and 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.
* If it rains, residents are asked to collect water in buckets if possible. Continue to boil water.”
If you are trying to find anyone or confirm that you are OK, use the Google Person Finder
“The Canterbury Earthquake government helpline is now active. This helpline is to provide information on government services for people affected by the Christchurch earthquake: 0800 779 997
The following WINZ offices are open for emergency assistance: * Ashburton Community Link, cnr Cass and Moore Streets * Hornby Service Centre, 25 Shands Road * Rangiora Service Centre, cnr Good and Blake Streets”
“Hospitals and Medical Centres
Christchurch hospital is operational (contrary to some media reports) and one ward has been evacuated. Only attend A and E (accident and emergency) at the hospital if absolutely essential. For other injuries, contact your nearest after hours medical centre.
The 24 hour surgery on Bealy Avenue is open.
Emergency triage centres for the injured are operating at Latimer Square, Canterbury University and the Sanitarium Building in Papanui.
Two welfare centres are currently open. If you need emergency assistance and accommodation overnight, go to Burnside High School. A secondary welfare centre is also at Hagley Park North. Welfare centres have been busy overnight.
Blankets, food, sanitation are supplied at the centres. Blankets have been provided by The Warehouse and Food Distribution Centres have made food available to the welfare centres. Civil Defence will attempt to open more centres throughout the day.
Missing persons: please call 0800 733 276 (0800 RED CROSS).
Christchurch International Airport is open for emergency flights only.
Movement of visitors out of city
Civil Defence is giving visitors to Christchurch the opportunity to relocate to Wellington.
The decision to relocate visitors has been made in order to free up accommodation in Christchurch and also reunite people with friends and family. This will also assist with accommodation shortages in the city. Flights started leaving Christchurch early this morning.
Visitors are being flown to Wellington by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Any visitors to Christchurch who want to leave the city should make their way to collection points at the Burnside High School welfare centre, corner of Memorial Avenue and Greers Road or the welfare centre at North Hagley Park. Please note, do not go to the airport directly if you wish to be on these flights. Please go only to the collection points.
The harbour is closed for at least 24 hours. Some wharves have sustained serious damage.
All highways are open apart from Lyttelton Tunnel, State Highway 74 and Anzac Avenue Bridge for which a detour is available. There are reports of major damage to local roads in the city and liquefaction and surface flooding. There are also some road closures in the Selwyn District.”
As of 7:40, there are 38 identified dead. Yesterday, John Key gave a figure of 65 – this appears to include bodies that have yet to be identified.
It is likely that cell phone coverage in the city will deteriorate today as cell towers that have been running on batteries run out of power. It appears power is still out to most of the city.
The damage to the water and sewerage systems appears to be more extensive than last time, which means a longer repair time.
Australia, the United States, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and the UK are sending search and rescue. There are 1,600 troops on the ground, including 100 from Singapore here for exercises.
Bill English has confirmed that EQC has sufficient insurance and re-insurance to cover the damage from this event. Nonetheless, there will be huge uninsured losses from businesses being shut. I would guess that there will be a temporary disaster levy to help cover workers’ wages to prevent businesses going to the wall, like the one Australia is putting in place after the Queensland disasters.
Our comrade r0b is in the thick of it. We wish him and his the best. Sounds like there’s a lot of cleaning up to do.
[comments on the political ramifications of this disaster will be moved to today’s open mike post. We’re not going to stop you making such comments but these posts are not the place]