14 November 2016

THE Salvation Army in New Zealand is on standby to provide assistance to people affected by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck north-east of Christchurch in the early hours of Monday 14 November. Two people are known to have lost their lives in the disaster, which caused damage to homes and infrastructure. Some roads in rural parts of South Island are impassable. Salvation Army response personnel are prepared to go wherever the Regional Emergency Management group needs them.

In Hutt City, near Wellington, The Salvation Army has been providing food to workers at the Civil Defence Emergency Management Headquarters. Assistance was also provided to evacuees in Wellington, which is where the Army's territorial headquarters (THQ) is located. Along with many businesses in Wellington, THQ was closed on Monday to allow structural engineers to check the safety of the building.

People in low-lying areas were evacuated overnight because of a tsunami warning. This has been downgraded to a coastal watch warning, meaning evacuated people are now able to return home. The region is still being hit by significant aftershocks, some of which are causing further damage.

The biggest concern is for the isolated areas of Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs – around the quake's epicentre – which are currently cut off. In some places, assessments and evacuation are being hampered by torrential rain and gales. In Christchurch there will be a need for pastoral support for those experiencing anxiety as they relive the severe quakes that struck in 2010 and 2011.

From a report by Major Christina Tyson

Tags: South Pacific and East Asia