Wellington Quake - news release 1

21 July 2013

The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office has been activated this evening as a result of the strong earthquake that hit central New Zealand just after 5pm.

The Wellington Region Civil Defence Controller, Bruce Pepperell, says there have been reports of structural damage to a number of buildings around Wellington City – and emergency services and local authority staff are continuing to check buildings and infrastructure.

“At the moment we have had only one report of an injury around the region.”

The Porirua and Hutt Valley emergency offices have been activated but it appears damage is minor in those areas.

Main points:

  • Wellington Airport has been closed temporarily while safety checks are carried out.
  • The region’s rail network is closed while checks are done on bridges, tunnels and other structures.
  • There have been some reports of damage to CentrePort.
  • People are advised to stay at home and not travel unnecessarily – while checks are done on roads and buildings and other structures.
  • Police have closed sections of Featherston Street, Wakefield Street and Bolton Street in the CBD and may close other streets if hazardous.
  • The Fire Service is busy dealing with broken water pipes and, for example, stuck lifts.
  • At the moment there has been one report of a small electricity outage in Wainuiomata – but other services appear to be unscathed.

Mr Pepperell says while the earthquake was undoubtedly frightening, it does not appear to have done widespread damage. “While some buildings are damaged and have been evacuated, the city and region has by no means ground to a halt.”

He advises residents to check up on their neighbours – and go and stay with friends, family or neighbours if they are frightened.

People should also ring 111 for emergency services if they are aware of damage or need assistance.

A further update will be issued at 9pm.