Cantabrians' nerves crumble as quakes return

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Feb 2016, 5:41AM
Dust cloud after a cliff fall in Sumner (Supplied)

Cantabrians' nerves crumble as quakes return

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Feb 2016, 5:41AM

UPDATED 12.29PM: Yesterday's major earthquake in Christchurch may not have brought down buildings, but it has caused a few nerves to crumble.


LISTEN: John Key - Quake a confidence knock for Cantabrians

MORE: Narrow escape from rockfall for lifesaving kids

LISTEN: No deluge of EQC claims after quake: CEO

There were no reports of any structural damage to buildings in the city after the 5.7 quake, but the council has closed AMI stadium and its cafes in the Botanicals Gardens until they can be assessed by engineers and staff who will decide what they can reopen.

Cliffs collapsed in Sumner, and brought rocks down onto the Bridle Path and Rapaki Truck, as well as bringing up liquefaction in New Brighton and Pines Beach. Shipping containers have prevented any rocks spilling on to roads, but travel on Scarborough Road has been restricted to residents since yesterday afternoon.

CERA has checked the inner city bus interchange and found nothing to prevent the public using it.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said yesterday's shake was an emotional blow, and will hit people who are still resolving their earthquake claims the hardest.

"Particularly those who haven't already settled their own EQC and insurance claims from the first set of earthquakes, they're going to be feeling particularly challenged by this event."

Dalziel said, if they can, people should resume their routines today, though she concedes it won't be as easy for everybody.

Lucy Daeth, public health specialist for the All Right Campaign, noted that while there wasn't much physical damage, the social recovery for the region has been set back.

She says it will have people on edge again, after things felt like they were getting back to normal.

"At one stage we were quite used to them but now it feels like a horrible shock and of course people are very concerned about how other people are doing, about people out East who've got liquefaction, about the people in Sumner who see cliffs collapsing..."

"As hard to believe as it might be for the rest of the country, we're still pretty fragile in Christchurch and still trying to come to terms with what's happening."

Daeth urges communities to stick together, return to a normal routine of work and school, and continue to keep an eye on friends, family and neighbours.

Meanwhile, Labour MPs in Christchurch are expecting swift action from the Earthquake Commission (EQC) to deal with fresh claims, even as delays on claims since 2010 and 2011 have been the source of immense frustration.

Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson assumes yesterday's 5.7 will be classed as a new event and says it would have been great if EQC had got all the past claims sorted by now, but it hasn't.

"This is actually a reminder to them that they need to get their act together, get their claims sorted so that when we have another event, people can start afresh."

Wigram MP Megan Woods wants to find out what impact the quake will have on EQC's workload and it's current handling of Christchurch claims, "just to check that we have a plan in place, that we have learned from the last five years and that we don't have people five years on from today that are still battling those claims."

Woods is seeking a brief from the agency today.

The Ministry of Education is reporting no major damage at any of Canterbury's schools.

However, Christchurch Girls' High School, St Thomas of Canterbury, and Aranui High School will remain closed today, and Kaiapoi High School has a late start of 9.40.

Ministry spokesperson Katrina Casey said it's important to remember that all of the school buildings most at risk have now been demolished.

She said they're contacting all schools and early childhood services to let them know they should inspect their buildings for any damage.

Parents or students unsure of whether their school will be opening are being told check the school's Facebook pages for any updates.

Around 500 people were knocked off the power grid immediately after the quake, mostly in northeast Christchurch and Piper Valley on Banks Peninsula. It was back on to all customers by six last night.

Orion chief executive Rob Jamieson said it had a minimal impact on their systems, but will still be doing thorough checks.