Sunday, September 5, 2010

Christchurch Curfew, Aftershocks - Update

A curfew will be in place in central Christchurch and Kaiapoi from 7pm today until 7am tomorrow to control looting and civil unrest, the central area will also be cordoned off.

Power is slowly being restored to the city, sparking off a number of fires in buildings damaged in the 7.1 quake.

The two major concerns facing emergency teams and residents are damage to underground services (water supplies and sewerage infrastructure) which may take weeks to repair and hazardous buildings weakened by the quake which have yet to be assessed or made safe.

Around 20 aftershocks have been felt since the initial quake. Residents are advised to boil all drinking water for 3 minutes.

Casualties in the disaster have been mercifully light, due mostly to the timing of the quake that occurred whilst most people were still asleep.

A reporter on Sky News said that people were unprepared for the quake and had no emergency plans in place or disaster provisions, many supermarkets have been subject to panic buying with two hour long queues at one store.

Earlier damage estimates have been revised and are now estimated to amount to 2 billion NZ dollars. Some buildings have been reported to have sunk into the ground by about a metre, probably due to liquefaction of the ground and sand volcanoes (see photo above for an example) have appeared in some places.

Liquefaction maps for Christchurch may be found HERE dated October 2004.The city's Civil Defence Emergency Management Arrangements may also be found on that link.

Christchurch is zoned into three areas for liquefaction - high in red, moderate in yellow and low in green. Much of the central and eastern part of the city is coloured red.

Aftershocks have been going on most of the day, most recently (source):
* 7:03 pm  Magnitude: 4.6,  Depth: 20 km,  10 km west of Christchurch
* 6:54 pm  Magnitude: 4.3, Depth: 12 km,  10 km south-west of Christchurch
* 6:38 pm Magnitude: 3.8,   Depth: 12 km,  20 km south-east of Darfield
* 6:35 pm  Magnitude: 3.8,  Depth: 5 km,  20 km south-east of Darfield
*  5:07 pm Magnitude: 3.7,  Depth: 10 km, 20 km west of Christchurch
*4:55 pm Magnitude: 5.4,  Depth: 10 km, 10 km south-west of Darfield
* 4:48 pm  Magnitude: 4.3,  Depth: 15 km, 20 km south-west of Christchurch

Extra police have been drafted in to provide protection in Christchurch as night falls, according to more than 80 officers have been brought into the city and the mayor has asked the army to also provide assistance, more here.

One British resident in Christchurch has just written this on an expats site:
Was woken up at 4.35 due to the violence of the quake, and have to say its the most frightened I've ever been in my life. The house was rocking incredibly, so much so that I'm still amazed its still standing, yet I had little damage apart from smashed crockery and ornaments and the living room looking like we'd been burgled.
The rest of the city hasnt been so lucky, with considerable damage elsewhere. The chinese take away across from me has lost a wall, as has a restaurant further down the road.
Some of the roads in the area have been badly damaged, and wont be passable for days or weeks, and from what I understand the river rose over its banks in some areas to.
The CBD is no-go area, with a curfew and state of emergency in force, and just to kick us when we're down its forecast 130kmh winds and torrential rain, which I'd imagine could compromise some of the precarious buildings around the city.
We're getting constant tremors, and have just had one while I've been typing, and the experts seem to think one of them is likely to hit a magnitude of 6 before we're done.
On a slightly more light hearted note I think I need to brush up my emergency management skills. In my (wine hangover affected) early morning panic I remembered the need to get out of the house and to take something to keep warm and some food, only to come to my senses sat in my car with a pillow case and a jar of gherkins.
Other posts about the quake
Christchurch New Zealand Quake Gets its own Wikipedia Page
Photos of the Christchurch Earthquake
New Zealand in Shock After Massive Quake - reports from the public about how the quake affected them

Massive Earthquake in Christchurch, State of Civil Emergency Declared

 Today's posts - click here

1 comment:

  1. I noticed that they are crowing about their innate orderliness and great building codes to explain the fact that there was less damage in the Christchuch earthquake compared to Haiti. I would like to mention to readers that Christchurch is not densely populated, nor is the surrounding area. Compared
    to Haiti or even to some normal-sized European small city. They have a good
    seismic study network in place in New Zealand and drills established. There has been
    nighttime looting and loads of property damage. They were efficient in
    their damage control measures, establishing curfews, cordoning off areas.
    A quake in South Auckland would have produced more Katrina-like conditions due to the poverty.
    NZ does NOT have strict building codes that I have observed. That's a laugh. Many roads
    buckled and a certain percentage of buildings have been reduced to rubble.
    Many people were spared because they were actually sleeping when it happened and
    not out and about.
    There was flooding which is not mentioned much in the international press.

    Tthe 2010 quake occurred on a previously unknown fault. So they were not even aware of the fault before. This means that there may well be future unpredictable and worse seismic activity.

    The main quake may have actually been two or three almost simultaneous earthquakes, which may also have changed the nature of the event.

    In short, the Kiwi press is fast on the spin, turning this event into something to boast about. They do not have much to boast about here, so they have become veritable public relations geniuses. I have never seen the like in any other country, this image control business.


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