Issued: Christchurch Earthquake Response, 26 March 2011
Reminders for recovery
Christchurch is gradually progressing through the huge workload required to get the city back on its feet after the devastating 22 February earthquake.
After starting at ‘ground zero’ on the day of the quake, basic services are being stabilised, although many such as sewerage and stormwater remain fragile.
But there is still significant distress for affected residents, business owners and their staff, and there has been major disruption to services.
The current Civil Defence focus is on restoring water quality so that the ‘boil water’ notice can be lifted, improving the ability of the Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant to deal with the city’s sewerage, and making buildings safe enough to allow greater access to cordoned areas, along with maintaining health, safety and security as winter approaches.
Here are some reminders to help you and your family get back on your feet.
- Financial support – The Government Helpline (0800 779 997) offers emergency Civil Defence payments and the Christchurch Earthquake Support Package for employers and employees. There may be additional support through Work and Income (0800 559 009).
- Language Line services are available on the Government Helpline for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds or you can call the settlement support helpline (0800 776 948) Monday to Friday, 8 am – 6 pm. Call 0508 55 88 55 for immigration-related enquiries.
- Recovery Assistance Centres are still open around the city. Visit www.msd.govt.nz/emergency/ recovery-assistance-centres.html for details or see our Welfare page.
- Recovery Information Kiosks have opened throughout Christchurch explaining where to find help.
- Support and counselling are available on 0800 777 846.
- Emergency accommodation – call 0800 HELP (0800 435 700). If you are a Housing New Zealand tenant with a damaged home, call 0800 801 601.
- Maori and Pacific people can contact Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu (0800 524 8248) or Te Puni Kokiri (0800 875 839).
- Schools and early childhood education – information is available from the Ministry of Education, phone 0800 22 55 80 or follow @MinEducationNZ on Twitter. You can also get school transport information from the Ministry, or contact your school.
- Pets lost, found and fostered – visit www.spcacanterbury.org.nz or check out www.petsonthenet.co.nz or the Canterbury “Pets and Animals” lost and found section of Trade Me.
- Tell Red Cross you are home if you registered when you left. Phone 0800 RED CROSS (0800 733 276).
Health and hygiene
This information may have been superseded.
For the latest updates, go to the Water Services page.
- Boil water – for drinking and food preparation until further notice.
- Toileting – our city’s sewerage system is fragile. If you have a chemical toilet and neighbourhood disposal tank, or if there is a portaloo near you, it means the sewerage system in your area is particularly vulnerable. Use these temporary measures if you can. If you are not in one of the vulnerable areas, flush as infrequently as possible.
- Report raw sewage leaks by calling 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser frequently.
- Waterways – Rivers, the estuary and the sea are contaminated. Keep out of them.
- If you are unwell – seek help from a GP if necessary, limit contact with others and stay home from work or school.
- Take care with food – Throw out smelly, mouldy or discoloured food and don’t refreeze food.
The latest road and bridge closures are shown on the Earthquake and Services map or phone 0800 779 997.
- Traffic is slow. New routes are expect to open next week that will further ease congestion, but please be patient and plan for delays.
- Latest bus information is on www.metroinfo.co.nz. Revised services are being added and most services are now running. Routes on the hill sections of the 15, 18 and 21 routes are still not served.
Safety and security
- There is a big Police presence in the Christchurch area.
- Police are focusing on earthquake-related activities such as enforcing security in the cordoned areas, as well as usual activities like alcohol related offences, disorderly behaviour and traffic offences.
- Contact the Police if you notice any suspicious behaviour.
- A total fire ban is in place. For your safety, don’t use gas bottles or barbecues inside.
- Take care with electricity supply to your property if switching it on for the first time. See the NZ Fire Service page. Contact an electrician or Orion on (03) 363 9898 if you have any doubt
Prepare for winter
- If you need urgent emergency repairs your home weatherproof, secure and sanitary. Call 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243).
- Get your fireplace, freestanding fire or any heating device with a chimney or flue checked by a builder or heating specialist and have working smoke alarms and have a home escape plan.
- Get a flu vaccination.
- Kerbside collection – returns to normal in most parts of the city on 28 March. Take earthquake rubble, bricks and masonry to the Metro Place, Parkhouse Road or Styx Mill transfer stations. Keep your receipts for insurance purposes.
- Rates – penalties will not be charged on late payments for rates due on 28 February and 15 March.
- Council Service Centres are open at Fendalton, Sockburn, Beckenham, Linwood, Riccarton and Papanui Service Centres (9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday). The Papanui centre is also open 10 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. Lyttelton is operating from the Recreation Centre, 25 Winchester St.
- Libraries are open at Spreydon, New Brighton, Parklands, Hornby, Bishopdale, South Library and Learning Centre, Akaroa, Diamond Harbour, Little River and Redwood.
- Lyttelton Recreation Centre is open [as at 24 March]. Jellie Park, Pioneer and Cowles Stadium are likely to re-open soon. If you are in a Christchurch City Council recreation and swimming programme such as Swimsmart, pre-school gymnastics or Pilates, you will receive credit for any lessons missed due to closures. Options are being developed for fitness, pool and multi membership holders.
- A red placard means the property is not safe – get a structural engineer to assess it.
- A yellow placard means you should only enter with the supervision of an engineer.
- A green placard means buildings are considered safe but further checks are recommended.
Car retrieval – new system
The Vehicle Recovery Team base has been moved to the Armagh St entrance to Hagley Park, open between 7 am and 8 pm daily.
- Bring car keys, reasonable proof of ownership and some photo identification, such as a driver licence.
- Once found, the team will return your vehicle to the base and contact you to pick it up. This may take some days but the team is working as quickly as possible.
- To find out more, go to Vehicle Recovery on the Police website.
Civil Defence is helping business owners and inner city residents to return or retrieve vital information as cordoned areas are gradually made safe.
Let us know you’re home
If you registered with Red Cross before leaving town, please call again on 0800 RED CROSS (0800 733 276) to let us know you’re back.
Christchurch City Council telephone number: 941 8999 or 0800 800 169
Earthquake Government Helpline: 0800 779 997
Earthquake Commission (EQC): 0800 326 243
Orion (electricity): 363 9898
Quake Support and Counselling: 0800 777 846
Housing New Zealand Emergency Assistance: 0800 435 700
Ministry of Education Helpline: 0800 225 580