The Government will pass an emergency legislation in Parliament this week to expedite the process of rebuilding Christchurch following the devastating earthquake that shook the Garden City on September 4.
Prime Minister John Key, who visited Christchurch at least twice during the past week to learn firsthand of the destruction wrought by the tremor and oversee the relief work, said that while the people in the city in general and the three affected districts (including the Central Business, Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts) were holding well, there was an urgent need to expedite efforts.
“The state of Emergency in Canterbury would run out by Wednesday (September 15) hence we should rush through the house a new legislation that will enable the Government to move with speed to rebuild Christchurch,” he said.
Most people of the quake-hit city were holding on well and members of the Indian community have shown resilience and solidarity in dealing with the situation.
Christchurch Kerala Association President Andrew Dominic said the earthquake was one of the most terrifying experiences in many people’s lives.
He filed the following report:
Although the magnitude of the earthquake was high at 7.1 on the Richter scale, the aftershocks have been worse. There were at least 150 such post-quake hits. Words cannot describe the experience of standing inside a house and feeling the entire building moving around you, accompanied by the ominous sounds of shattering glassware and household items.
The response from the Christchurch Council team and the associated Governmental agencies was fast and productive. Shelters have been set up around Christchurch for households without power or water.
The Indian community has particularly rallied together to ensure that all residents were safe and were receiving necessary supplies. Anyone can call me anytime on (03) 3227865 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A nasty shake
Yogiji Food Mart Owner and Director Rajesh Thakkar described the earthquake as “nasty’ but hoped that normalcy would return by the end of this month.
“Although there has been no structural damage to our building (located on Colombo Street), many of the pallets inside the shop had moved. Damage to our property has been minimum,” he said.
Balar Group Chairman & Chief Executive Stan (Suresh) Balar said the earthquake has had its worst effects on some parts of the City.
The Group owns Service Foods Limited, Asian Food Warehouse and a number of commercial properties throughout the City.
“We are in the process of assessing the damage. Many of the properties have been given ‘Green Sticker’ by the authorities, while some (with Red Stickers) are not safe to allow people to go into them.
“We have asked engineers to give us a comprehensive Structural Integrity Report. We do not want to take any chances,” he said.
Mr Balar said the management and staff of his Group were doing their best to provide normal services to clients and were cooperating with the authorities to offer all possible assistance to the people of Christchurch.
“This is a time to be together, show solidarity,” he said.
Christchurch resident Abdullah Drury said his family had just completed early morning Ramadan prayers when the earthquake occurred.
“We could feel the entire building shaking for about a minute. It was scary. We spent the following night in my office in Halswell where there was electricity but no water. Mobile phones were the only means of contact,” he said.
Mr Dominic said Christchurch residents demonstrated ‘the true Kiwi spirit of compassion and concern,’ offering help and support.
Suresh Patel, owner of ‘P&P’ Diary in Hoon Hay asked people to help themselves to any item in his retail store.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Mr Patel and his family rushed to their dairy after the earthquake to check on any damage.
“It took some time to manually open their electric garage door at home, and by the time they arrived at the store, shaken customers were queuing up outside,” it said.
Mr Patel said the EFTPOS facility was not operative but told the panicking customers to take any essential item, including water bottles, food and batteries.
The picture appearing in this report shows Prime Minister John Key with affected families at the Welfare Centre at the Addington Raceway on September 7, 2010.
NZPA Picture by Ross Setford.
Photo : The Clock at the Christchurch Tower stood still after the Earthquake. Picture for Indian Newslink by Andrew Dominic