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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 12:03 am

Wellington CBD an earthquake ghost town as the clean-up begins


Jurgens Demolition clean up shattered glass on Cable St

Wellington CBD was all but deserted today as residents respected the council’s request to avoid the area so that buildings could be checked for damage by experts.

The council is working to get the city back up and running as quickly as possible says Chief Executive Kevin Lavery.

“It is encouraging to see the Wellington community coming together to support each other last night and this morning,” he says.

Wellington City Civil Defence controller Toni Thompson says people should avoid coming into the CBD if possible.

“If you live in the central business district, please stay where you are unless you’ve had instructions to leave your building.

“If you don’t feel safe, we recommend you go to friends and family if possible,” says Thompson.


The footpath showered with debris 126 Wakefield St

In the city some of the damage to buildings was obvious with cordons in place to protect the public from any debris that might still fall from the broken buildings.

Ms Thompson says we haven’t been inside these buildings, so it is possible there will be significant damage in some that isn’t visible from the outside.

“That’s why it is so important for building owners and managers to have them assessed by engineers.

“Our staff have also checked roads and structures, including all of the city’s major bridges, tunnels and subways.

“There are some minor slips around town, mainly from the wet weather over the weekend, but nothing major, however we do have more wet weather on the way.”

Featherston Street has been cordoned off and is a no-go zone after inspections of buildings according to council’s afternoon earthquake update.

Some buildings have multiple broken windows and are expected to fall to the ground in the stormy weather forecast for Wellington.

The footpath outside Karen Walker was covered in glass and concrete as the side of 126 Wakefield had cracked and fallen.

A number of glass panels from balconies at Portal Apartments fell and shattered on Cable street leaving cars no choice but to drive over the glass.


Shed 5’s ceiling fell onto the bar

A crew from Jurgens Demolition were driving past cleared the glass off the road.

Old Bank Arcade has damage in multiple places and is closed until further notice.

Shed 5 staff were clearing up the mess made when part of the ceiling fell onto the bar below.

While staff at some businesses were cleaning up after the earthquake others will be greeted by a mess when they return to work.

Hairdressers, chemists and department stores throughout the CBD had bottles, tubes and cans scattered on the floor where they fell.

The staff at T2, a tea and teaware store, have work to do cleaning up all the pieces of teapots, cups and saucers that have smashed into hundreds of pieces all over their floor.

A few people were walking through the CBD stopping to look in shops windows for damage.

One thing drawing a crowd at a number of window displays throughout the city and providing light relief on an otherwise sobering day was  mannequins.


Mannequins at Jay Jays appear to be playing ‘haystack’

The mannequin challenge has appeared over social media in the last few weeks where a group of people freeze in position like a mannequin while a video is recorded.

Today it almost seemed like the mannequins were having the last laugh as they ended up in all sorts of hilarious and sometimes inappropriate positions.

Farmers on Lambton Quay and Glassons, Jay Jays and Hallensteins all in Cuba Mall were  bearing witness to the impact the shaking had on their mannequins.

So while inspectors were taking photos of damage and speaking in serious tones, throughout the CBD there were a few locals and tourists having a bit of a giggle at the temporary damage of displays.



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