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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quake 'worst of all'

Quake 'worst of all'

Last updated 05:00 05/03/2011
Avonside residents hungry for information have been told the February 22 earthquake was an "unprecedented event" by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.

Parker told a residents' meeting yesterday that areas with the greatest need were being targeted first, but "obviously those areas are massive".

"It's been the most severe earthquake to strike a city in the world," he said.

"This earthquake will result in a rewriting of earthquake standards around the world, in my view. This earthquake hasn't just hit the worst-hit areas again, it's also hit 500 per cent more."

Parker said he would fix the area's problems immediately if he could, but services such as portable toilets needed to be spread "five times further this time".

One resident asked if he should be considered "lucky" after still having to use a portaloo delivered after the September 4 quake.

Parker said 120 crews were working around the city to restore basic services, but it was up to homeowners to fix any damage within their own properties.

"We are not separate from you. We are not favouring any one part of the city over another. This has been an incredible earthquake event," he said.

Sergeant Simon Craig assured residents that concerns about looting were being taken seriously, and Christchurch currently had more police officers than "any other city in the country".

"The city is not in anarchy," he said.

A meeting earlier this week attracted 200 residents, and yesterday organiser Brendon Burns, the Labour MP for Christchurch Central, brought supplies such as water, hand sanitiser, face masks, torches and first-aid kits.

"This area was badly hit in September. They're still halfway to recovery, and it's been knocked for six again," he said. "Portaloos I'm still puzzled about. Council data says there are six down this road, but I don't see them."

Orion chief executive Roger Sutton described the process of fixing damaged cables and restoring power, bringing a simple map to show residents what work had to be done.

Generators were being sent to areas with significant power-cable damage, each powering up to 300 homes. He said jobs that normally took more than six months just to organise were being completed in three days, buthe urged people to save power by turning off the beer fridge and the hot-water cylinder.

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