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Canterbury Earthquake Wednesday Update

23 February 2010

Canterbury earthquake Wednesday update

While rural Banks Peninsula has suffered some damage, this pales beside Christchurch. Federated Farmers is now focusing its efforts to support urban residents.

Rural damage assessment
Welfare calls around Banks Peninsula shows that damage has been mercifully light compared to the city and farmers are now anxious to offer their full support to the urban communities

Federated Farmers Earthquake spokesperson, John HartnelI (021 578 754), has also completed a sweep of the rural areas of Halswell, Tai Tapu and Greenpark. He has found much less liquefaction than from September. Damage is mainly to roads and there were no obvious pooling of water with farms in reasonable shape. Closer to the city this changes, with liquefaction very evident in the Halswell residential areas.

In terms of member need, Federated Farmers has worked with one member on generator capacity and another with water. The rural community to be in a reasonably good shape but if farmers do need assistance they should call 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646).

Farmers assisting Christchurch
Our focus is to offer the authorities the basics of life, being water (now in hand) along with accommodation and possibly food too.

Water
Federated Farmers is pleased to have worked with Fonterra Cooperative Group to deliver 200,000 litres of potable water to the city. There is an obvious need to extend water supplies so this is an open request for spare portable water tanks to augment the bulk supplies (and to meet the possible needs of members on Banks Peninsula).

If you can supply a portable water tank, please call 0800 FARMNG (0800 327 646).

Accommodation
The three Canterbury provinces of Federated Farmers are most keen to accommodate fellow Cantabrians in Canterbury as well as the teams of rescue and emergency workers now coming into the city. Fonterra is to make a similar request to Cooperative members but it is vital the offer is made only once. The Federation’s accommodation list will be exchanged with the Red Cross and Civil Defence

An advisory and text message has been sent to all members requesting accommodation be made available. Offers are now rolling into 0800 FARMNG (0800 327 646).

The Federation is further working to place at the disposal of the authorities, a number of rural sporting clubs within 30 minutes of Christchurch. These all have working sanitation, water and electricity and may be useful to relieve pressure on relief centres in the city.

Volunteers and food
Federated Farmers has received numerous offers from volunteers. We are still awaiting feedback from Civil Defence as they are the lead entity. We have also had the offer of food from members around New Zealand to assist the feeding of displaced persons. Again, we are awaiting feedback from Civil Defence and the Red Cross.

Fuel situation
Consumers should not be concerned about fuel supply to Christchurch Federated Farmers has been in contact with the fuel companies and supplies are being brought into Timaru and then shipped northwards. The tank farm at Lyttelton has not been compromised. Greenstone Energy (the Shell brand) has bulk tankage at the Port of Timaru and a large fuel delivery scheduled for Lyttelton has been diverted to Timaru and will discharge from 10pm this evening until all tanks are completely full. Fuel will then be bridged via trucks into Christchurch on an ongoing basis. Federated Farmers recommends farmers to be judicious about fuel use. To help take pressure off supplies in the short term, fuel should only be purchased on a needs basis.

Rural Woman NZ has an urgent request for portable toilets and fuel
In the wake of yesterday’s earthquake, there is an urgent need for portable toilets at the Christchurch offices of Rural Woman NZ’s homecare company, Access Homehealth. Not only is this, but Rural Woman NZ is in need of fuel so it can support its elderly and disabled clients in Christchurch and wider Canterbury area. For offers of assistance, please contact Noeline Holt, Executive Officer, Rural Women New Zealand on 04 473 5524 or 021 868 608 or Jackie Edkins, Communications Officer, Rural Women New Zealand on 027 271 5717.

Government earthquake helpline
The Government’s helpline is 0800 779 997. The Earthquake Commission can be contacted on 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243).

Red Cross helpline including missing persons
If you are concerned about the wellbeing of friends and relatives in Christchurch, you should call 0800 REDCROSS (0800 733 276).

Local infrastructure
If infrastructure, such as roads has been damaged then you are advised to contact your local council.

Roads and airport
The Lyttelton Tunnel is open only to emergency vehicles. The tunnel canopy has been severely damaged and will not be open to the public until it has been replaced. Christchurch Airport opened for domestic flights this morning and international flights are also set to resume.

Schools
All schools and education facilities are closed in the quake affected zone unless you have been notified otherwise.

Health advice
Members are reminded that Healthline is a free 24/7 telephone health information service provided by the Ministry of Health and includes mental health. The service is staffed by registered nurses who are able assess health needs before giving information or advice to help you decide on the best level of care. Telephone 0800 611 116 (24/7).

Telecommunications
Disruption to landline and mobile services in Christchurch continues with widespread power outages meaning large parts of the networks are still working off backup power. The mobile network remains significantly affected. A number of cell sites are inoperative and others are still heavily congested.

The operators advise people to minimise use of mobile phones or to use text messages instead of calls when possible to free up the network for emergency services.

Telecom has deployed two COWs (Cell Sites on Wheels) to critical areas to boost mobile coverage and we are looking to deploy additional COWs from around the country. Technicians from around New Zealand are being deployed to assist in the restoration of telecommunication services in the Canterbury region.

111 services remain stable and available and any issues are likely to be due to network disruption due to damage, power outages or congestion. People trying to contact 111 should try again if they experience issues connecting. 111 calls are being prioritised.

Advice from previous updates:
People without power in their homes will not be able to use cordless landline phones, as base stations require power. If customers have non-cordless landline phones that plug directly into the wall and do not require power, they should be used.

For residents of Christchurch, 260 payphones in and around Christchurch are now enabled with free calling for local, national and mobile calls.

Electricity
Electricity in many parts of Lyttelton is now on but progress is necessarily slow as Orion has to be methodical and safe in their work. It now has power back on to a little over 60 percent of customers in the Christchurch area. As it makes individual streets live, it is identifying faults on some cables and these repairs will take time.

Progress is slow in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch due to the damage to its network and the roading network. Some customers are affected by multiple electrical faults as large cables as well as smaller electrical assets that help to get power to customers are affected and need to be repaired.

The suburbs of Dallington and Brighton are among those worst affected, although there are still pockets in the western suburbs without power. Orion will be assessing damage for some days as much of our network is underground and it will therefore take time to locate and investigate any faults.

Be careful with grain and fertiliser silos
There are no initial reports of damage to grain silos. It is vital that farmers do not attempt to repair or move grains if damage is suspected as there is the risk of death. Federated Farmers Grain & Seed can provide advice:

Murray Rowlands – 03 317 9401
David Clark – 03 303 6132

Continue to check on your neighbours
Given residual damage, it is important to check on your neighbours to see if they are alright

Water and sanitation
Members are advised reminded to boil all water and to restrict use of toilets if on town supply water and to check septic systems if not.

Federated Farmers Christchurch office is closed until further notice
Federated Farmers Christchurch office is closed due to damage until further notice. Any meetings scheduled for the office have had to be cancelled. Thankfully, there have been no physical injuries to staff.

ENDS

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