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#CHCH #EQNZ Quake Update 28

0625 hrs Thursday 24 February 2011

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Depth (focal depth): 5km. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated and a National State of Emergency has been declared (

Considerable damage has been reported in the Christchurch Central Business District and in Lyttelton. There is a cordon around the central business district. Damage assessment is ongoing and over time, will present a better understanding of the extent of damage. Rescue work is likely to take days to complete.

A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings.

Priorities for the response remain the support of the urban search and rescue operation, the treatment and care of injured or affected individuals, and the coordination of national resources in support of the local response.

Resources are being deployed from around the country and from overseas to provide support to the Canterbury response. An 'air bridge' has been established between Christchurch and Wellington.

Damage assessment is ongoing and over time will provide a better understanding of the extent of damage.
  • To minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people should use txt messaging to check if friends and family are safe
  • There are reports of widespread building collapse (especially in the central city).
  • Police have recovered 71 fatalities and they expect this figure to rise.
  • 900 people registered at welfare centres
  • People continue to present at hospitals, triage centres and medical establishments and confirmed numbers of injured are not available at this time.

Missing persons
For queries about missing persons please call 0800 733 276 (0800 RED CROSS).

As at 0400 24 February, there were at least 34 aftershocks greater than magnitude 4 and three aftershocks above magnitude 5. GNS Science advises that there may be more magnitude 5 or greater aftershocks in the next few days. Aftershocks are expected to to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued distruption to power, telecommunications and essential services.

For local Christchurch information (including welfare centres and water) see:

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.
  • Check on neighbours, friends and family in their local area.
  • 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.
  • Do not use any lifts anywhere in Christchurch.
  • Do not sight-see in affected areas - this is causing congestion and impacting on response vehicles. Roads are for lifelines and emergency services.
  • 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.

Detailed safety advice will come from local authorities and emergency services in the area. People should act on it promptly. MCDEM, local civil defence authorities and scientific advisors are closely monitoring the situation.

This advisory has been issued to all local civil defence authorities, emergency services, other agencies and media.


Government help line
Call the Ministry of Social Development's Government help line 0800 779 997 for information about all government services and support.

Donations - please give cash not goods
People wanting to contribute to the response are encouraged to contribute financially ONLY. (No donations of goods or services at this time please). Cash donations to:
  • Red Cross:
  • Salvation Army: 0800 53 00 00 (Specify that your donation is for the ‘Canterbury Earthquake Appeal’) OR
  • Any ANZ Bank branch: Account number 01-1839-0188939-00
  • Any National Bank branch: Account number 06-0869-0548507-00
  • Any Westpac Bank branch: Account number 03-0207-0617331-00
  • Any ASB Bank branch: Account number 12-3205-0146808-00
  • Any BNZ Bank branch: Account number 02-0500-0982004-000
  • Any Kiwibank branch: Account number: 38-9009-0759479-00

In addition, a Mayoral Fund has been set up to accept donations to Chritstchurch citizens at the following BNZ bank account: 02-0800-084958-000

Blood Donations
NZ Blood has announced that the Christchurch Blood Donor Centre will be closed until further notice. They have good supplies of blood in Christchurch and have supplies they can bring in from other centres. At this stage blood stock are fine, but if the situation changesthey will inform people via their website ( or via Facebook.

Red Cross Person Enquiry Line now activated
The New Zealand Red Cross Person Enquiry Line is now activated.

People in New Zealand concerned about the wellbeing of friends and relatives in Christchurch should call 0800 REDCROSS (0800 733 276).

If you are unable to contact a friend or relative in the Christchurch area, call the Red Cross Person Enquiry Line. Red Cross will be able to tell you if they have registered with Civil Defence. People are encouraged to do this before reporting friends and relatives missing.

People enquiring from outside New Zealand should call +64 7 850 2199

You can also email the Red Cross on


Hospitals and Medical Centres
Medical resources are being deployed and activated to manage the number of injured.

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 an
d the Sanitarium Building in Papanui.

The District Health Boards are communicating to coordinate support requirements.

Hospitals in other areas are prepared to receive patients if required

Police Cordon
Christchurch police are imposing tight restrictions in central Christchurch from 6.30pm this evening for public safety reasons amidst fears of further building collapses.

District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff says the area within the four avenues (Deans, Moorhouse, Fitzgerald and Bealey) will be off-limits.

Police say all members of the public, including the media must be out of the cordoned area by 6.30pm, or they risk arrest.

More information:

Urban Search and Rescue
All three Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams are deployed. Task Force 2 (Christchurch) is operating at near full strength and non technical teams have also been deployed. Seven international USAR teams (Australia (2), United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan) have arrived or will arrive today to support the search and rescue operations.

International assistance
Offers of earthquake and rescue specialists have been received from Taiwan, Belgium, Israel, EU, Greece, Malaysia, Argentina and France. The United National Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has offered assistance and International Search and Research Advisory Group (INSARAG) teams have been mobilised. An offer of assistance has also been received from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Child Youth and Family clients
All Child Youth and Family clients can call 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459) for assistance with concerns about a child or young person.

Police reinforcements
Police officers including those skilled in disaster victim identification roles are travelling to Christchurch as part of the emergency response.

About 200 staff have been mobilised as part of the immediate response with another 130 expected to travel in the next few days to support their Canterbury colleagues and other agencies.

A large number of Australian police staff are being mobilised to assist in the Christchurch earthquake rescue operation.

Police are urging people to stay out of the Christchurch central city business area. Overnight rain is not helping the situation but emergency services and disaster response agencies are continuing all possible efforts to search buildings in the CBD and other parts of the city.

Movement of visitors out of city
Civil Defence is giving visitors to Christchurch the opportunity to relocate to Wellington. Visitors who want to leave the city should make their way to the Burnside High School welfare centre, corner of memorial Avenue and Greers Road or the welfare centre in Hagley Park. DO NOT go to the airport.

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. (See also 'Airport Status' below)

Visa Extensions for Foreign Nationals Affected by Earthquake
Immigration New Zealand is issuing automatic six month visa extensions for any foreign national whose work, visitor or student visa application cannot be processed because of the Christchurch earthquake. Immigration New Zealand's central Christchurch office in the Crystal Plaza building is unable to be accessed for safety reasons. 2000 temporary visa applications are in that office.

For more information contact: Immigration New Zealand


Airport status
Avoid any non-essential travel to or from Christchurch.

The Christchurch domestic terminal has reopened.

International flights check-in started from 1200 hours, 23 February, with flights from 1530 with significant international flights now leaving (NZT).

Contact your airline before heading to the airport to reduce congestion.

Christchurch International Airport: 0800 568 369

Port status
Lyttelton Port operations are currently suspended while a full engineering assessment is completed. Some wharves have sustained serious damage.

Road status
Numerous bridges and roads are impassable due to flooding and structural or surface damage.

All State Highways are open apart from the Lyttleton Tunnel and State Highway 74, which is closed at Anzac Bridge between Wainoni and New Brighton Road. There are also some road closures in the Selwyn District.

State Highway information is available on the New Zealand Transport Agency website (

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.

All trains in the Christchurch region are stopped until further notice. Trains are moving south of Ashburton and able to move north of Rangiora to Picton.

The ‘TranzAlpine’ which operates Christchurch/Arthurs Pass/Greymouth and Greymouth/Arthurs Pass/Christchurch train services and the ‘TranzCoastal’ Christchurch/Kaikoura/Blenheim/Picton and Picton/Blenheim/Kaikoura/Christchurch train services will resume on 01 March.

Disrupted passengers are to call KiwiRail for alternative travel arrangements on 0800 808 400.

Coach Services
Intercity Coach Services are operational and will depart and arrive on 23 and 24 February from the corner of Colombo St and Bealey Avenue in Christchurch.

Transpower reports that all supply is back in service. Orion has had power off to CBD and eastern suburbs overnight for safety purposes. There was around 75% outage in Christchurch initially, but they have restored over 50%.

All networks have heavy congestion. Restrict mobile phone use to text messages ONLY. Only use the phone for emergency calls. Refrain from using data services (eg. Internet browsing) as this is leading to congestion.

Please note, we have been experiencing problems with our Twitter account @NZcivildefence. This account provides an automated feed of content from this site only. Updates will continue to be provided on this site.


Earthquake Government Helpline: 0800 779 997
A service for people requiring information on income support, housing options, health issues, community assistance, Civil Defence or any other government service.

Healthline (24 hours): 0800 611 116
The service is staffed by registered nurses who will assess your health needs, and give information and advice to help you decide on the best level of care.

Earthquake Commission (EQC): 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243)
For information on EQC’s insurance cover, cleaning up and making a claim.

Christchurch City Council customer services: 03 941 8999
For assessment of major structural damage to your home or business premises or for help with essential council services such as water supply or sewage disposal.

Federated Farmers helpline: 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646)
For information, advice and contacts for Canterbury farmers (weekdays 8.30am - 5pm).

Business helpline: 0800 42 49 46
Information for business owners.

Christchurch International Airport: 0800 568 369

For all information relating to the response to and recovery from the Canterbury earthquake visit:

New resources for the blind and partially sighted
Interactive, electronic resources designed to give potentially life-saving advice on emergency planning to the blind and partially sighted have recently been launched.
Go to the Get Thru website for more information

See also resources for the deaf and hearing impaired

Follow us on
This feed has been established to help us inform as many people as possible when civil defence emergencies occur.
Click here for more information.

EMIS: Link to EMIS project information website

If a disaster happened now, would you be ready? Visit to learn how you and your family can get ready, and get through.

Preparing for emergencies
Two videos have been produced by Canterbury Civil Defence outlining how you can easily prepare emergency food and water supplies for your family.

1. Preparing food
Nutritionist Bronwen King provides helpful advice for ensuring you always have enough suitable food at home for emergencies. (Link to external site)

More information about preparing a household emergency checklist

2. Preparing water
We can live without food for a few days but we cannot live without water. Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, provides tips and advice to make storing water easy. (Link to external site)

More information about storing water
More information about preparing a household emergency checklist

Tsunami: When minutes count
New Zealanders who survived the Samoa tsunami on 29 September 2009 share their stories.