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Ministry of Education Wellington Earthquake update

Media release

Ministry of Education Wellington Earthquake update

22 July 2013

The Ministry of Education has today started assessing damage to schools and other education facilities following Sunday’s earthquake.

“The Ministry’s first priority is the safety of students and staff when they return from holidays next week (29 July),” Ministry Deputy Secretary, Regional Operations Katrina Casey says.

“The Ministry has already started determining what school repairs are needed. We know there is damage to Wellington High and Wellington Girls College, and we’ve been working with those schools today.

“Multi-story, heavy-roofed and masonry constructed school buildings in Marlborough and Wellington have been prioritised for structural assessments over the next few days. Our work will include providing a template for engineers to use when assessing school buildings, based on what worked following the Christchurch earthquakes.

“Inspections will be coordinated with schools to ensure any temporary closures, repairs and provision of temporary accommodation is well coordinated.

“Any work needed will be informed by those engineering assessments. At this early stage, we can’t say what repairs will be needed, and when they will be finished.

“Schools and early childhood services should visually inspect their properties and raise any issues to the Ministry. The Ministry will work with schools to confirm whether engineering assessments are required.

“Schools are on holiday until 29 July, and the Ministry is confirming which schools may be operating holiday programmes. Many affected tertiary institutions are also closed for holidays. Some early childhood services remain open, and parents are best to check with them directly.

“This is a timely reminder for schools and early childhood services to check their emergency and evacuation plans to ensure they are ready if they are needed, and also to parents to consider alternative plans for their children in the event they cannot collect them themselves in an emergency,” Ms Casey says.

Ministry offices in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Porirua, Blenheim, Nelson, Motueka, Otaki and Masterton were closed today to allow structural inspections to be carried out, and staff advised to work from home for the day.

ENDS

Notes to reporters:

Number of schools, early childhood centres and enrolments in the Wellington and Marlborough regions:

Porirua City
60 ECE services 2,523 enrolled
35 schools 9,166 enrolled

Upper Hutt City
37 ECE services 1,476 enrolled
22 schools 7,452 enrolled

Lower Hutt City
110 ECE services 4,717 enrolled
54 schools 17,413 enrolled

Wellington City
174 ECE services 6,794 enrolled
82 schools 29,600 enrolled

Marlborough District
40 ECE services 1,632 enrolled
30 schools 6,380 enrolled

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