// 25 DECEMBER 2011 //
24 December 2011

SALVATION ARMY teams responded quickly on 23 December, 2011, to provide emergency assistance to those affected by the latest severe earthquakes to strike Christchurch, New Zealand.

Bruce Coffey, The Salvation Army disaster coordinator, reported that personnel and emergency supplies were immediately sent to the 'four different zones that have the most significant liquefaction'.

Counselling facilities were established and food, drinks and toys were given to victims.

Early on Christmas Eve, Salvation Army Territorial Commander for New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, Commissioner Donald C. Bell said; 'Around the city this morning, some people do not have water or power. There has been further damage to a number of buildings that were already slated for demolition. All roads are open. Liquefaction is causing many problems in the affected areas.'

Christchurch has been in recovery mode since September 2010 when the city was first hit by a major earthquake. In February this year a further fierce quake caused the death of 181 people. The Salvation Army has been providing ongoing counselling and practical material support to residents of Christchurch since the initial earthquake.

Commissioner Bell said that, 'People were hoping the worst was over and that there could be a return to normalcy. But this latest setback is taking a psychological toll.

'New Zealand has many earthquakes every day but you don't feel most. Since yesterday Christchurch has had 67 earthquakes and/or aftershocks ranging from magnitude 2.8 to 6.0. The airport and several malls were evacuated, but all have been reopened,' he added.

Almost a year after having to move from its premises, due to earthquake damage, Christchurch City Salvation Army Corps (church) is still meeting in a school. Many of the soldiers of the Sydenham Corps live in what has been identified as the Orange Zone and they don't know if they will be able to remain in their homes.

Commissioner Bell said that anyone who has visited the central business district of Christchurch in the past 'would not recognise it today. Most of the buildings have been torn down and Christchurch Cathedral is in total ruins.'

In commenting about ongoing precautionary measures by The Salvation Army concerning its properties, the commissioner stated that, 'We are taking action around the country to strengthen our buildings, for instance, territorial headquarters in Wellington meets current earthquake codes, however, the stairwells were constructed in a similar fashion to ones that collapsed in Christchurch, so we are having those upgraded.'

Commissioner Bell thanked everyone who has provided prayer support, 'this is what is needed for us most at this time'.

back to news index print version text only

News headlines

18 December 2014 - News Feature: Sign Up Now for Bible-Reading Challenge Emails

16 December 2014 - The General and Pope Francis Share in Prayer at the Vatican During First-Ever Private Meeting

12 December 2014 - News Feature: Record-Breaking Major Rings in 150th Anniversary Celebrations

8 December 2014 - News Feature: Prospective Volunteers Encouraged to #AskBoundless in Live Interactive Events

8 December 2014 - The Chief of the Staff and Commissioner Nancy Roberts Lead Zonal Conference and Worship in South Africa



The General




Americas and Caribbean


South Asia

South Pacific and East Asia

2014 ICL

150th anniversary

Translate this page:


  • Worldwide Prayer Meeting
  • One Army teaching resources
  • Boundless - The Whole World Praying
  • Donate Here