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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Praise from PM of Christchurch's spirit

Praise from PM of Christchurch's spirit

Last updated 05:00 11/03/2011
The Government can do nothing more right now to help quake-hit Christchurch recover, Prime Minister John Key says as aftershocks continue to hit the city.

Christchurch has been hit by swarms of jolts following the devastating 6.3 magnitude quake on February 22. A significant magnitude 4.5 quake struck 10km east of Christchurch, at a depth of 10km, just after 8pm last night, GNS Science said. It was felt strongly in Christchurch, and throughout Canterbury.

Yesterday Mr key made his seventh visit to the city since the quake hit on February 22.

At one of the "one-stop shop" welfare centres in New Brighton, he met people like Geraldine Whelan, who was trying to arrange temporary accommodation for her daughter Bridgett.

Ms Whelan said her daughter had lost her own home in last year's September 4 quake and had been staying with her in New Brighton since then. But after the latest quake, that home had also been heavily damaged.

"It's on a lean now," she said. "The foundations are broken and one of the rooms has kind of gone away."

Ms Whelan's daughter had taken refuge in Akaroa, but as a result of yesterday's visit to the welfare centre, she will probably be offered temporary accommodation from a bank set up after last year's quake. It could be a sleepout, a bach or a private bedroom.

Staff at the New Brighton centre have had about eight people a day looking for accommodation, which is low compared with other centres.

They say many people are too proud to leave their homes. There is a 50/50 split between people who want to stay and help rebuild Christchurch and those who want to go and live somewhere else, they say.

Ms Whelan said her daughter was one of those who wanted to stay.

"Logistically, it's quite hard to get around Christchurch. It's difficult for people to go to lots of different locations and so coming to one place makes a lot of sense," Mr Key said. "Actually, this is the future of welfare centres in New Zealand, where we combine lots of activities in one spot."

Mr Key said he was impressed by the "amazing resilience and positive attitude" of people in the city. "Nobody complains. They're dealing with a really difficult situation so it doesn't mean that they don't want a toilet or to have things resolved very quickly, but they are incredibly stoic, they're backing themselves to get through this. We've got to be very proud of the Kiwi spirit."

The enormity of the quake damage made it impossible to do everything that everyone would like right away.
"We're doing everything we can."

- The Dominion Post

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