Christchurch Update

20 September




Canterbury continuing to restore services



Civil Defence Director John Hamilton says agencies in the Canterbury region are continuing to restore services gradually.


The region continues to experience aftershocks as high as 5.0 though the frequency is declining.


While progress is being made on restoring services, the pace of restoration is slowing because remaining outages is taking longer to fix With major work need to repair the sewage and water systems in the worst effected areas.


“Welfare centres are continuing to support people in need with 231 people being accommodated in the Christchurch city welfare centres overnight. The emphasis is now on assessing the needs of affected people.


“Additional building inspectors, public information officers, welfare officers and emergency operation centre staff are providing support in the affected areas.”


The cordon in the Christchurch CBD has been lifted but some restrictions remain to ensure safety and clean-up work can go ahead.


A Canterbury Recovery Strategy has been completed by the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group. The establishment of the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Commission was announced. The commission will be assigned the task of terms of reference and disbursements to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.


By 9.00am today the 0800 Government helpline (0800 779 997) had received almost 10,000 calls, with calls continuing to focus on damage to property, employment subsidies and food grants.

People and Communities

·         National Crisis Management Centre under the beehive in Wellington has been stood down for Canterbury earthquake

·         National Crisis Management Centre beneath the Beehive stood down on Friday 17 September. Ministry staff have gone to on-call duty arrangements but will continue supporting recovery from the Canterbury earthquake, working in Canterbury and from the Ministry's offices.

·         The states of emergencies for Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District terminated at mid-day, 16 September. This marks a clear shift from response to recovery. It does not mark an end of welfare, rebuilding and restoration work in Canterbury - this work continues with urgency and will continue as long as required. The cordon in central Christchurch has been lifted but some roading restrictions remain in place to ensure safety and clean-up work.

·         Welfare centres. Medical and welfare support services are being offered at welfare centres. The government expects welfare support requirements to rise as residential housing inspections continue. 231 people are accommodated the two Christchurch welfare centres – Linwood College and Addington Raceway. With Linwood Centre reopening as a school on Monday, that welfare centre will move to Cowles Stadium tomorrow.

·         A psychological support strategy is operational and the National Welfare coordination Group is identifying and deploying counselling resources. Other actions include the Ministry of Health providing psychosocial information on their website and enlisting experienced volunteers to provide support to individuals

·         An action plan is being developed to get welfare centre tenants back into their homes or longer term temporary accommodation.

·         Urban Search and Rescue teams continue to provide support to response and recovery activities under the coordination of the respective local CDEM Controllers.

·         Operation East (involving the assessment and inspection of buildings and the welfare of residents in the hardest hit areas) has been completed.

·         The emphasis is now on immediate and longer term welfare requirements and needs (including psychosocial support to affected communities). It is expected that there will be an increase in welfare support requirements as residential housing inspections continue.

·         A psychosocial support strategy is in place. Implementation of the strategy involves health, education and social development ministries as well as NGOs and local councils.

·         The Ministry of Health is leading a mass media campaign and the Ministry of Education is ensuring that trauma counsellors for children are in all schools today. The Ministry of Social Development is developing a virtual reception centre registering offers of help from counsellors and forwarding them to Canterbury. The Ministry of Social Development is coordinating the NGO capability network. Resources have been allocated for counselling and support as part of the $7.5 million Community Response Fund.

·         Calls to Healthline, 0800 611 116, relating to anxiety are decreasing.

·         The Ministry of Social Development has completed making contact with superannuitants. Focus turned to contacting the most vulnerable invalid benefit recipients over the weekend. They have referred a small number of urgent cases to their Christchurch-based staff to address their immediate needs.

·         Work and Income is continuing to process emergency payments. The main reasons for assistance continue to be food, clothing and accommodation.

·         The Canterbury CDEM Group is developing a Welfare Communication Strategy to ensure consistent information is given by all agencies.

·         Police are maintaining limited restrictions around unsafe buildings in the Christchurch city CBD.


Community Infrastructure

·         Water supplies in Christchurch City, Banks Peninsular and Selwyn (town supply) have been deemed safe. People in Kaiapoi, Kairaki, Pines Beach, Malvern Hills and other areas should continue to boil water before drinking.

·         Most schools remained closed yesterday (Friday), but most intend to open on Monday. The Ministry of Education has more information on its website.

·         All hospitals are fully operational

·         Monitoring continues for gastroenteritis outbreaks.

·         Hospitals and medical centres: The neonatal ICU at Christchurch Women’s Hospital is at capacity. Akaroa, Lincoln Maternity and Burwood Birthing Unit remain closed. All remaining hospitals and services are reporting business as usual and are coping well.

·         GP practices and pharmacies are operational, and reporting a normal demand for services.

·         Public health concerns relating to water supply are now declining with water supplies in Christchurch City, Banks Peninsula and Selwyn deemed safe. There are still “boil water” notices in place for Kaiapoi, Kairaki and Pines Beach. Monitoring continues on gastroenteritis outbreaks. No abnormal trends have been detected.

·         Calls to the Canterbury Healthline continued to decrease yesterday with the greater than usual volumes experienced earlier in the week for calls relating to vomiting/ diarrhoea, anxiety and chest pain declining.

·         Public health officials visit welfare centres to provide advice and assess public health needs. Public health officials have also been inspecting premises associated with food preparation.

·         Key information related to health is being issued by the health sector.

·         Education: Most schools have reopened today. The Ministry of Education is developing a plan to support pupils unable to go to their own schools. It is expected that Christchurch Polytechnic, Lincoln University and Canterbury University will open to students on Wednesday.

·         Six schools and 13 early childhood centres across the affected area will not open today. The Ministry of Education website contains further information on the opening status of schools.

Property Status

·         Building inspections. Operation East is underway. This involves assessing and inspecting buildings and the welfare of residents in the hardest hit areas and has been underway since Thursday 9 September. The operation expects to complete inspection and assessment of 3500 residential buildings by tomorrow (Sunday).

·         Visits are being targeted to those who have made calls to the City Council. Priority is being given to properties that are presenting with immediate danger.

·         Earthquake Commission continues to receive claims. By noon yesterday, EQC had received 44,000 claims and expects to receive over 100,000 claims. Total cost of the disaster is likely to be at the upper end of earlier estimates in excess of 5 billion dollars.

·         Housing: High priority needs are being met (such as finding accommodation for people whose houses are deemed unsafe) and some medium and lower needs are also being progressed. A sub-committee for housing has been established and met yesterday. Agencies are identifying houses available to accommodate displaced people.

·         EQC continues to receive claims, both on the 0800 DAMAGE phone number and through the EQC website. As at 1200 hours on 12 September, EQC had received 45,957 claims.

·         Commercial: Christchurch City Council is reminding building owners not to demolish their buildings without consent from the Council.


Transport Infrastructure

·         All main urban arterial roads in Christchurch are open, except those in the CBD under threat from damaged buildings or debris.

·         SH1 between Kaikoura and Waipara closed overnight due to a significant slip that could take several days to fix. Before the slip near Kaikoura, The NZ Transport Agency estimated repair costs for the state highway network to be in the order of $6-10 million.

·         Evans Pass Road (main alternative route to Lyttleton) will be closed for up to two weeks

·         Local roads are being surveyed. Bridges and roads are being repaired throughout the area. An accurate picture of costs is expected in coming weeks.

·         Christchurch International Airport is fully operational, with terminal buildings are certified completely safe.

·         Lyttleton Port is fully operational.

·         RailwaysThe slip near Kaikoura has also closed the Main North Line. KiwiRail is working with the New Zealand Transport Agency to get the slip cleared, slope stabilised and road and rail networks reopened by Thursday. In the meantime, KiwiRail is road bridging freight out of Blenheim. Clearance of the debris is progressing, but has been complicated at times due to the risks associated with the instability of the slope.

·         A number of road closures are still in place including:



·         Electricity – power has been restored nearly everywhere. Main Power 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 – all customer services are operating normally

·         Water – Christchurch water is expected to be completely restored by the end of the weekend. There are still “boil water” notices in place for parts of Waimakiriri District Kaiapoi, Kairaki and Pines Beach . As of last night, seven streets remain without water in Christchurch City, however, a number of individual properties also remain without water.

·         Waste water – sewerage continues to be a problem for Waimakiriri and parts of Christchurch city.

·         Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Both the major grocery 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. Operations are expected to be slowed by the slip on SH1 near Kaikoura.

·         Sewerage continues to be an issue for Kaiapoi and parts of Christchurch City. Three pumping stations in Christchurch City require reconstruction. There is also significant damage to sewer mains with an estimated 10 per cent of the city affected.

·         The Rolleston Waste Water Treatment Plant is operational to the point where there are no longer any restrictions on waste water usage. This means residents no longer need to limit the use of toilets, showers, dishwashers or washing machines.



·         Significant changes due to ground displacement and shaking has resulted including changes to water courses have taken place.

·         Environment Canterbury has crews inspecting industrial areas for contaminants.


Rural Status

·         A Rural Recovery Group for the Canterbury region has been established and a rural recovery coordinator Alan Baird has been appointed as the main liaison for the sub groups for Communication, Coordination, Water, and People.

·         Helpline for farmers. A Federated Farmers help line: 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) is operating daily 8.30am-5.00pm. There are growing concerns about effluent management and infrastructure damage. Federated Farmers also have staff in the field visiting affected farmers. There are estimated to be 71 badly affected farms. There are growing concerns about effluent management and farm 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. Storage for affected grain is a potential issue.



·         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.




·         On Thursday, the Government appointed a rural emergency coordinator to oversee the range of organisations involved in recovery efforts in the Canterbury rural sector.

·         From Monday morning, the Christchurch City Council will have a building recovery office on the ground floor of the new Council offices at 53 Hereford Street. This office will include representatives of the Earthquake Commission, building inspectors, and engineers and will be able to provide advice for residential and business owners needing to reoccupy their buildings, arrange demolition, major repairs or rebuilds. For financial assistance from the EQC and the Mayoral Relief Fund

·         A business recovery website as a one stop shop for business support issues.

·         Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri Councils have each formed recovery groups soon after the earthquake to plan and coordinate recovery efforts. The councils are meeting today (Saturday) to extend a recovery strategy developed by Christchurch City to cover the three districts.

·         Hazards – Waimakiriri River is contaminated in its lower reaches. The public are advised to avoid contact with river and seawater and not collect or consume any fish and shellfish.

·         Weather


Civil Defence Director, John Hamilton said, the priorities are to prioritise and consolidate the recovery work targeting those areas needing attention. New initiatives will be put in place to respond to emerging needs.


“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.



Canterbury earthquake: Current priority areas

As response to the Canterbury earthquake continues to move to recovery, public safety remains the primary consideration. The current priority areas are:

Summary of recovery status
The Christchurch City Council has established a Building Recovery Office on the Ground Floor of the new Council Civil Offices at 53 Hereford Street. The office will provide advice and streamlined consenting/approval process for buildings damaged in the earthquake. There will be a range of building and planning specialists available at the office and an EQC representative will be available to discuss insurance matters. The office will be open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday (the office opened today – Monday September 13 at 9:30am). The office will:

A Canterbury Recovery Strategy has been drafted and is under consideration.

Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri Councils have each formed recovery groups to co-ordinate recovery efforts. The Councils’ recovery groups are supported by clusters of agencies that are focussing on recovery plans for their specialist areas. These specialist areas are:

Members include representatives of local authorities, government agencies and business groups. The cluster representing rural interests is now operating from a base in the Selwyn District.

A business recovery website has been established as a one stop shop for all business support issues.

Response status
Regional: The Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group is the lead agency. Its Emergency Coordination Centre remains activated.

Local: Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District have declared a state of local emergency until midday Wednesday 15 September 2010. The three councils are reviewing that status daily and intend to terminate their declarations at the same time.

National: No declaration of emergency has been made. The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is the national lead agency. The National Crisis Management Centre continues to coordinate central government support, including Police, New Zealand Fire Service, New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Health and District Health Boards, Ministry of social Development and the National Welfare Coordinating Group, and Ministry of Transport.