Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Zealand Quake: It Could have been a Lot Worse

Good news: nobody's been killed in New Zealand's earthquake.

Bad news: A whole lot of buildings are damaged, some collapsed.

If you're in New Zealand, and don't live in the Christchurch area? Authorities in New Zealand want you to do everyone a favor - and stay away.

This article has a decent selection of links to updated information for folks in and around Christchurch:More from New Zealand's news:
"NZ 'blessed' no one died - Civil Defence minister"
New Zealand Herald (September 4, 2010)

"It is a blessing no one died in the massive earthquake which rocked Canterbury this morning, Civil Defence Minister John Carter said after crisis meetings in the Beehive.

" 'I think we've been extremely lucky as a nation,' Mr Carter told NZPA after top public servants, ministers and specialists met in the wake of the magnitude 7.1 quake, which hit across Canterbury about 4.30am, with several severe aftershocks.

"Buildings crumbled throughout Christchurch, and in rural Canterbury, crushing cars and closing roads, yet only one serious injury was reported, a man in his 50s who is in intensive care in Christchurch Hospital...."
"7.1 quake: Key information" (September 4, 2010)

" What's working, what isn't and what to do after the destructive 7.1 earthquake in Canterbury.


"Power was initially down across most of the city. By late morning, power had returned to most of New Brighton and Dallington, as well as Christchurch Airport and Christchurch Hospital, lines company Orion said. Ninety per cent of the city was expected to have their electricity restored by nightfall.


"Water and sewage have been affected in several regions. Some outlying areas are still without water. Residents should conserve water. All Selwyn residents are being asked to conserve water, but especially in Rolleston. Rolleston water supply is contaminated. Minimise water use, e.g. flushing toilets. There are also concerns the sewerage system may have been damaged.


"Christchurch hospital is running on generator power. Burwood Hospital is without water. St John Ambulance services were fully functioning but medical alarm users were urged not to activate their alarms unless they were injured or unwell. Residents with minor injuries need to go to 24-hour surgeries for treatment rather than the hospital. Alternatively, people need to help each other treat minor injuries...."
"Shaken residents say quake damage huge"
The Star "at home in Canterbury" (September 4, 2010)

"Shaken residents of Christchurch fear the damage from today's devastating earthquake today may have a far bigger impact than most realise.

"As aftershocks from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake continued to rock the city, people checked their friends, relatives and neighbours and made sure their homes were safe to stay in.

"However, many residents also believed what appeared to be relatively minor damage to their homes, may only be the beginning. They say many buildings may have damage which cannot be seen...."
A bit of pretty good analysis:

"Why the N.Z. quake is no Haiti"
Cosmic Log, MSNBC blog (September 3, 2010) (before some of the New Zealand articles - an International Dateline thing)

"Alan Boyle writes: In January, a 7.0 quake hit Haiti, and 230,000 people died. Today, a 7.0 quake hit New Zealand, and early indications are that it caused relatively few serious casualties. Why the difference?

"The main reasons don't have to do so much with the earthquakes themselves.

" 'This was very similar to the earthquake that struck Haiti,' said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. 'The main difference is that New Zealand has a lot of experience with earthquakes, and they have good construction codes to make sure that their buildings withstand a strong earthquake.'..."
A state of emergency has been declared in Christchurch - and it's almost certain that folks living there are going to find that many of the buildings still standing have been damaged.

It's early days for this disaster, and more information will be coming out. As well as the sort of harrowing accounts that go with this sort of large-scale destruction.

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