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Civil Defence issues update on devastating quake

Feb 22nd, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

CIVIL defence teams from around the country are preparing to head to Christchurch within hours of the killer 6.3 quake, which hit the city today.

The civil defence website says the earthquake was 10km south-east of Christchurch at 12.51pm at a depth of 5km.

The website said the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) is standing up all available Urban Search and Rescue teams and an Australian team has been put on call.

“MCDEM is assessing information with the assistance of scientific advisors and Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated,” the site states.

It says temporary accommodation is currently being organised for those displaced and civil defence is looking at erecting tents in Hagley Park.

Christchurch Hospital was initially evacuated and several rest homes are being considered for evacuation.

There is major damage in the Christchurch CBD, and there are a number of people with significant injuries.

MCDEM is working with the Ministry of Social Development and the Police to re-establish contact with Canterbury Civil Defence.

People in the affected area should:

  • Expect aftershocks. Each time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on.
  • Check yourself first for injuries and get first aid if necessary before helping injured or trapped persons.
  • Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. Use the stairs, not an elevator, and when outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so. Fire is a significant hazard following earthquakes.
  • Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.
  • Help people who require special assistance – infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
  • Detailed safety advice will come from local authorities and emergency services in the area. People should act on it promptly. MCDEM, local civil defence authorities.

Visit www.civildefence.govt.nz for more information.

* Newswire front page photo: Stuff.co.nz

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