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Research Finds Significant Problems Remain After Quakes

Research Finds Significant Problems Remain After Quakes

24 June 2013

Nearly three years after the Canterbury earthquakes, lower socio-economic communities bordering Christchurch’s ‘Red Zones’ are showing great resilience, but are nevertheless still facing significant problems, new research shows.

While residents are mostly positive about the long-term future, and are enjoying greater camaraderie and contact with neighbours, the research uncovered some concerning issues.

Nearly half of the residents report problems around personal wellbeing. Women in particular were very stressed. Sixty percent identified serious problems around crime and anti-social behavior in their neighborhoods.

Frustrations around information and help from EQC and insurance companies were extremely significant. A quarter of people believe that they are not getting the help they need and a third require more information, particularly around property repair issues.

Edmund Rice Justice board member, Paul O’Neill, said, “The figures around wellbeing are obviously very concerning. Are they just to do with the quakes, or are they because of the ongoing difficulties many of these people face day-in-day out?”

“These people clearly need help, from basic things like getting clear information, through to more serious issues around psychological wellbeing”, he said.

Nga Maata Waka’s Linda Ngata said, “How the city will look in the future and the expense facing EQC are important considerations, but unless we look after the people we are creating a pipeline of serious problems in the future.”

“We must do something about it”, she said. The survey, commissioned by Edmund Rice Justice and Nga Maata Waka and undertaken by Independent Research Solutions, was conducted in three areas in Christchurch’s Eastern Suburbs. The areas were chosen for their proximity to the Red Zones created by the Canterbury earthquakes and because of their low socio-economic status as derived from the Deprivation Index. The study therefore examined the people who were arguably worst affected by the quakes.

Executive Summary

This report is the result of a survey of residents in three low socioeconomic areas living near the ‘Red Zones’ created by the Canterbury earthquakes.

The findings were collected using broad open ended questions. Where issues were identified, participants were asked to rank the importance of them on a five point Likert scale.

Issues of property damage and loss of amenities were significant concerns for these communities. More than two thirds of respondents reported issues with their property, and a similar number identified the loss of one or more amenities in their area. Roading was also of particular concern.

Problems around the wellbeing of residents was a major finding. Nearly half of respondents identified a negative change to their wellbeing since the earthquake. Notably, women more highly reported problems in areas relating to stress and nervousness.

Crime and antisocial behaviour is a further and significant problem. Nearly 60 percent of participants identified negative issues regarding crime or antisocial behaviour in their area. Most often, these issues were deemed particularly important.

While a number of people reported negative effects with regard to their involvement in the community, the most significant effect was that there was greater contact and camaraderie with neighbours and the community.

Some 77 percent of respondents believe that overall, they are receiving the help that they need. Those who did not were generally concerned with issues around EQC, insurance and housing, and they almost universally saw these issues as extremely serious.

Just over two thirds of respondents believe that overall, they are receiving the information that they need. The remainder, however, view a lack of information as extremely serious and issues in this area were broad and many.

In the short term the community is evenly divided between those with a positive future outlook and those with a negative outlook.

In the longer term, those with a positive future outlook significantly outnumber those with a negative outlook. Those who maintain negative long-term outlooks tend to be those on the lowest incomes.

Just over three quarters of respondents were happy with the level of input that they have had into local community redevelopment projects. Those who were unhappy were unsure how they could increase their involvement.

ENDS

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