Protecting Canterbury’s “lifeline” infrastructure from the worst

EQC have released a report The Value of Lifeline Seismic Risk Mitigation in Christchurch. It is available in two versions: a Summary Report and a Full Report. They can be downloaded from here. Commissioned by EQC, the report identifies significant benefits from seismic strengthening and collaboration initiatives in Christchurch following a 1997 review, Risks and Realities. EQC have, over a number of years, funded a large amount of research into natural disasters, preparedness, and disaster recovery.  The extent, competence, and value of this part of their activities has been lost sight of in the last 18 months due the absence of such qualities in EQC’s bread and butter role. That 1997 review arose from work commenced in the early 1990s by the Christchurch Engineering Lifelines Group who had identified vulnerabilities in “lifelines” such as electricity and other parts of the city’s infrastructure.  Lifeline utilities are defined in the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002. From the Summary Report:

The substantial programme of seismic mitigation fostered by the Canterbury Lifeline Utilities Group and undertaken by Christchurch lifeline utilities over many years, served Christchurch well in reducing earthquake losses and facilitating emergency responses and recovery. The damage would have been greater and the response slower if the preparatory work fostered by the Group had not been undertaken.

In terms of ensuring Christchurch is well prepared for any future disaster it is a very useful document against which to assess the level of preparedness built into public and private sector development plans.

NZ Red Cross – two new winter assistance grants

The NZ Red Cross announced two new winter grants yesterday.

The first is for those with school age children (5 to 18 years) and the second for people with pre-existing medical conditions. The grants are designed to help those eligible to get back on their feet financially. The grants are in the form of electricity heating subsidies.

More information, eligibility criteria, and application forms are available from these web pages:

  • Winter Assistance Grant for school aged children – here
  • Winter Assistance Grant for pre-existing medical conditions – here

A Winter Assistance for Under 5s Grant is already in existence and information is here, and a list of the whole range of NZ Red Cross grants is available here.

Red Cross – Winter Assistance Grant for under 5s

From the Red Cross website.

The aim of this grant is to assist households which have children under 5 who are living in significantly damaged homes caused by either the September or February earthquake. The significant damage must include serious compromise to the insulation of their homes.

This grant assists households with their electricity bills over the months of June, July, August and September.

This grant is for up to $400 in total and will be made up of four monthly payments of $100 which will be paid directly to electricity retailer outlined on the application form.

NOTE: if you have already received a Winter Assistance Grant you are not eligible to apply for this one. Full information and an application form are here.

Orion newsletter

Orion have released a two page newsletter online describing the current power supply situation, and the temporary measures being taken to secure electricity to the city. In the newsletter is a message for customers living in eastern areas: conserve electricity if you can, but make sure you keep warm.

The second page of the newsletter is a map of the major projects Orion will be doing in its 10 year plan for Christchurch. The newsletter, in PDF form, is here.