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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Structured transition to recovery for Christchurch

Structured transition to recovery for Christchurch

updated 18:17
Published: 4:12PM Sunday March 20, 2011 Source: ONE News


Officials say many buildings in the centre of Christchurch remain unstable, resulting in whole streets being in lock down.

Citing Manchester Street, Urban Search and Rescue member Carl Devereux said many roads are still dangerous.

"You are having to put people down these streets that just aren't safe at the moment...you've got large buildings that are still in danger of coming down," Devereux said.

Inside, precious possessions and documents may never be recovered.

Recovery phase changes pace

As the immediacy and urgent phase of the Christchurch response ends, Civil Defence says a structured transition to the full recovery process is now the focus.

Director John Hamilton said the main emphasis is on community wellbeing and making sure residents have access to basic needs such as safe, warm and dry housing, drinkable water, sewage disposal, electricity and communications.

He told a media conference this afternoon that it is also important for "kids to go back to a good learning environment", including at tertiary level.

Hamilton also said they want medical facilities up and running, preferably with spare capacity.

Restoration of business activity is also a priority so they can operate outside cordoned off or damaged premises. Hamilton said rather than just dismantling buildings officials want to provide access inside the cordon so the business community can recover materials to allow them to continue elsewhere and get the economy going.

But he said safety will still dictate the extent to which this can happen.

From Thursday, if it can be safely done, Usar teams will help business owners enter and retrieve what they can.

Richard Brewer from the Canterbury Business Recovery Group said they are acutely aware that for some businessnes the clock is ticking.

But he said "it's a very unpleasant, very unsafe place to be".

A fresh round of community briefings will begin around the city tomorrow.

The police vehicle recovery team will attempt to clear more car parks within the cordoned area on Monday and Tuesday.

Owners will need to bring keys to the vehicle, ID and proof of ownership.

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