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.

Red Cross – Enhanced Water Filter Grant

This grant is for those whose domestic water supply comes from either a well or a bore, and whose water quality was affected by the earthquake to the point where they now require an enhanced water filter (EWF) in order to make their water potable.

The grant is for an amount up to $5,000 per household which includes purchase, installation and test of the enhanced water filter. This grant is available only when all other avenues for funding assistance have been exhausted.

Full information about the grant, and an application form, is on the Red Cross website here.

Avonside Community Group Newsletter 9 June 2011

Leanne Curtis has done another of her well received Avonside Community Group newsletters (each one always reaches the top seven most popular recent posts on the blog). This one was too complicated for the blog, so the attachments had been removed. Instead links to the original documents have been inserted, in green. You still get the same information. The newsletter breaks part way through because of it’s length, just click the continuation link to carry on.

The insurance article Leanne refers to is very interesting and a cautionary tale. Please read it to get an understanding of the ways the insurance companies are operating. Read also the next post on this blog about Clayton Cosgrove’s concerns with insurance companies. These companies are not to be trusted – not because they are dishonest, but because each one is out to protect its  interests and are prepared to minimise yours if they think they can. The “ethical” environment they operate in is quite different from ours.

Hi people (and welcome to all the new readers!)

Apologies for such a depressing start to last week’s letter. I think the winter (and the  chemical toilet) is addling my brain! Anyway, we have decided to stay in Avonside and tough it out over the winter and I hope many others will make the same choice. It’s not pretty but better the devil you know at this stage. I was trying to look for positive thoughts after Monday’s 5.5 aftershock and came up with the following:

  1. our house did not fall down (much more than it already is)
  2. the ground did not liquefy
  3. the kids did not freak
  4. the dog could not scale the newly heightened fences and escape Almost felt good about it!

Land Announcements
Apparently Minister Gerry Brownlee wants to be able to present a ‘package’ with the land announcements so people who may be forced to ‘retreat’ from land will have a better idea of what this means. To do this, they have to work with the insurance companies which is no mean feat. Insurance companies have many variations of policies (some as many as 45) and these variations obviously make it difficult to come up with a one size fits all package. I suppose the thing to hold onto is the fact that we may have a much clearer idea of what our future looks like in the near future.

Folk are still having issues with EQC and many questions remain to be answered.  Reid Stiven the Senior Claims Coordinator in Christchurch currently has a weekly Wednesday Q&A spot on CTV’s City Life programme. The programme is screened at 9am, 4pm, and 10pm and the producers welcome your questions to ask Reid – email or ring 3777033.  If you take advantage of this please cc me as we also meet with Reid Stiven at EQC on a regular basis and try to address generic issues at these times.  CTV advise that they will publish these City Life programmes on Youtube from next week (including this week’s bulletin), keep an eye on this here: .

Insurance Article has a very good article (attached – read it here) written by Andrew Hooker which looks at the dangers of cash settlements and explains ‘like for like’ and storage of gear. I strongly suggest you have a read.

Temporary Accommodation Assistance Package
It is now 9 months after the September earthquake and some families who had to leave their homes then are starting to run out of their insurance accommodation money. We have heard that people are not getting any warning that their insurance cover is coming to an end and suddenly finding themselves without money to pay the rent. If you are already out of your house and using your insurance cover to pay rent CHECK WHEN THE COVER RUNS OUT. You can apply for the governments Temporary Accommodation Assistance Package one month before your insurance cover runs out. All information about this assistance and the amounts you can claim are available at I also have hard copies of this information and the application forms for anyone who does not have internet access.

 Red Cross Winter Assistance for Elderly Grant
This application assists people over 65 years who are living in their significantly damaged homes caused by either the September or February earthquake. This grant assists people with their electricity bills over the months of June, July, August and September.
”         up to $400 per household paid over four months to assist with electricity bills.
I have attached information about eligibility for the grant and the PDF form to apply.
Below is information from the website about how to return the forms. Forms can be picked up from Delta Community Trust (cnr Crystal St & North Avon Rd, Richmond), any other Recovery Assistance Centre or Red Cross Branch or my place at 72 Keller St, Avonside.

Red Cross – Winter Assistance Grant for Under 5s.
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 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.

Return Grant
Applications can be returned to the New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission in any of the following ways:

  • Email it to eqgrant@redcrossnz (Please note that where applications are lodged by email, the relevant supporting documentation must be scanned and attached to your email)
  • Post it to: New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Grants, PO Box 217, Christchurch Mail Centre 8140
  • Fax it to +64 4 473 4923
  • Deliver it to one of the following locations:
    (a) A Red Cross Service Centre; OR
    (b) Any Ministry of Social Development (MSD) office or service centre
    Please keep a copy of your application for your records.
    any questions? please call 0800 754 726. For more information about available grants from Red Cross see

I have left a message with the local community constable about what is happening to crime rates in Avonside. People in Avondale have noticed an increase in burglaries but I have heard little about Avonside. I have asked for information about any increase and what Police are suggesting happens in neighbourhoods that are as empty as ours. I’ll keep you informed but in the meantime, make your house look as lived in as possible and keep an eye out on empty places. We don’t need to invite burglars in!

The map below shows where the water mains are broken in our area. The statement below from CCC would suggest that you can drink from the taps but as we still have evidence of silt coming through our pipes and the water makes the coffee taste bad, we are still getting our water from elsewhere. There is a water tank on Keller Street which states that it doesn’t need to be boiled. There is also a lovely guy down Marshlands Road (just past McSaveneys Road) who has left his hose out from his well. The water comes highly recommended!
I have asked the Council what the advice is with regard to drinking the water if people are finding silt in their pipes. They are ‘doing a job’ to investigate what’s happening and will get back to me with information.
(the localised map is here)
Water supplies have been chlorinated to a level agreed with the Medical Officer of Health and is in line with best practice used in city’s with chlorinated water. The tap water in the city and on Banks Peninsula is constantly tested to the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards and is safe to drink.

Temporary solutions restore sewer service (Excerpts from the media release)
(Anyone had a letterbox drop yet because this came out last week and we sure haven’t heard anything?)
Posted in Christchurch City Council
The Christchurch City Council is this week contacting some residents in the worst-affected areas of the city to advise that temporary measures are being taken to restore sewer service to their homes
A further 30 areas have been identified in the worst-affected eastern suburbs where these temporary measures are necessary. The Council and contractors will this week notify these properties that alternative measures are being investigated with the aim of restoring  services (use of toilet, shower, washing machine and dishwasher) to these badly affected areas by the end of August 2011.
Council Water and Waste Manager Mark Christison says alternative solutions could include any of the following:

  • Temporary shallow sewers to bypass broken sewer pipes
  • Temporary pump stations to pump to operational sewers
  • Using sections of intact sewers as tanks and using sucker trucks to clear these regularly
  • For the most difficult properties a temporary sewer tank similar to those installed after the 4 September earthquake – this would be cleared by regular sucker truck visits.

This week, these households will receive a flyer in their letterbox letting them know that investigations are happening in their area and the Council will be in touch soon with more information about the solution that will be put in place.
“The target deadline for completion of work in these areas is the end of August 2011 and I hope this timeline helps give them some more certainty.
Lawrence is still providing us with the best source of earthquake information (there’s a job going for Communications with CERA Lawrence – I vote you!). Latest posts include:
” Red Cross Winter Heating Grants
” Insurance Disputes in Australia
” Who Would Live in an Earthquake Zone?
” Anyone for Wigram?
” New Fault Lines – the Scientific View
” CHCH Earthquake Grant – for BNZ Customers with School Age Children
” CCC – Water Supply Update
” Orion Newsletter
” Relocated Children School Grant
” More Earthquake Analysis
” The Waimakariri Way (which has links to great Q&A)

Newsletter Content

Apologies for the size of this newsletter and the added attachments. I won’t normally send so many. If there are specific issues or questions you would like included in this newsletter please let me know. CanCERN meets regularly with the Community Wellbeing people within CERA, insurance companies, EQC, social services and others so if I don’t have information at hand, I can go hunting for it. Alternatively, if you have something you feel would be good to include here, please forward it through to me. If you have questions or concerns you would like addressed privately, please indicate that. I’m not promising I can provide the answers but it’s worth a try.

Stay strong!
Kind regards

Leanne Curtis
Avonside Community Group
72 Keller Street
Ph: 3385255
Cell: 0276555665

CCC – water supply update

The CCC issued a media release yesterday advising the release of a map showing where work is required to repair and replace the city’s water supply.

It is quite a daunting task. A total of 124km of water mains were damaged by the September and February earthquakes. So far 10km of pipes have been replaced from the September earthquake and 12km from February, which leaves a very large distance to go (approximately from here to Leeston and back, or if travelling north, about from here to Amberley and back).

The map, in PDF format, is here, and the media release here.

Just our part of the map is shown below. The red parts are where there is damage to the water supply, the green area represents the site of Avonside Girls High School.