It is now day 23 of the major quake and Christchurch and surrounds are getting back to business. Large areas of the city centre are still barricaded off and other major arterial routes ,1 lane and 1 way due to temporary hoardings and fences.
Residential areas around the Avon and Kaipoi Rivers have been devastated due to liquafaction and the earth splitting. There is a number of members houses that are split in half or have settled 200 to 300mm into the soil.
A number of members have had their houses condemned while others are waiting for some certainty one way or the other. The stress faced by these members is enormous as they need to find temporary accommodation, storage space, water and sewer checked as well as carry on with normal life.
There are members who have remained in their homes but without any sewer connection and so your society is assisting with porta-loos etc. Others have large holes in roof's due to broken chimneys or unstable walls that are being supported by bracing.
All personnel have worked tirelessly with approximately 7000 calls having been attended in 20 days. This is a huge credit to all concerned and our special thanks to crews from Invercargill, Dunedin, Wellington as well as volunteer crews from all over the region that have left their homes and families to assist our city. USAR members from Auckland and Palmerston North have also flown in to assist local Task Force Two personnel.
Our one saving grace is that we have had a wonderful spell of weather since the 4th and have missed all the wind, snow and rain experienced else where around the country or else our work load would have doubled again.
We are still experiencing regular after shocks up to magnitude 5 which doesn't assist with sleep but just like living next to a rail line we are all getting very used to them.
Thanks to quick action by your chairman we had Owen Williams (Dunedin) come to assist local representatives at the earliest possible time. Since then we have been helped by Keith Nixon, Erroll Tapiki, Steve Hudson, Dave Brown (Wellington) Steve Shackelton, Kevin Shea (Nelson) and Ron Fatealofa (Invercargill) who have all given their time to assist in the response. My special thanks to Paki Johnston who has been tireless in his support of local personnel.
We have worked in closely with John Heslop, Sue Trafford (CISM) Transalpine, Darryn Percy, Roger McCloud (Health and Wellbeing) Transalpine as well as those brought in by the Fire Service from all around the country.
We have talked with members as well as non members from both paid and volunteer brigades as well as contacted as many associated members as we possibly could. I estimate this has involved approximatly 500 voluntary hours dedicated to the cause.
My special thanks from all within the region.
Kevin Crozier, Region 5 Board Rep. NZFFWS