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Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake rescuers want to see rebuilt Christchurch

Earthquake rescuers want to see rebuilt Christchurch

Last updated 05:00 11/03/2011
Foreign rescue workers want to return to Christchurch to see a rebuilt city.

Hundreds of rescue workers and emergency officials from around the globe have helped New Zealand's Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) teams since last month's quake, setting up camp in Latimer Square.

Dozens of pup tents still line the central-city park, while larger structures contain supplies. A noticeboard holds the keys to dozens of government vehicles and minibuses, while a nearby tent houses hardware.

LPG-powered showers and a catered mess hall provide some comfort for those sleeping under the stars.

The well-drilled professionalism of the workers extends beyond their rescue efforts. A boot-polishing station has been set up, while a Singapore rescue worker carefully irons his uniform in his tent.

USAR co-ordinator Mitchell Brown said the park had housed nearly 600 rescuers from home and abroad, along with 22 rescue dogs.

Police officers, a council response team and contractor liaisons were using the site to co-ordinate work.

Yesterday, international rescue workers praised the preparation and professionalism of their Kiwi colleagues.

Australian USAR taskforce 3 leader John Denny said the country's rescue teams often practised with Kiwi teams.

"We've held a lot of training exercises together, we use the same equipment, we all know each other's names ... we're about as prepared [to work together] as we could possibly be," he said.

"We know that when it comes down to it, there's always been that special bond."

Singapore's Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team commander Alvin Tan said his team appreciated the support, including the meals and facilities.

Tan said Singapore team members were already planning to return to Canterbury for a holiday.

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