Wellington Quake - news release 5

22 July 2013

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the city greatly appreciates the offers of support and help from other councils in the region and councils around the country following last evening’s quake.

Mayor Wade-Brown added that personnel at the Regional Emergency Management Office appreciated this morning’s visit by the Prime Minister.

“We have engineers out and about, and can call on additional help if required. A number of councils around the region and the country have been very generous in their offers to send staff to help out. Depending on what our staff find today, we may take them up on their offers if there is a need for more inspectors on the ground.”

The City Council is working with Fire Service Urban Search and Rescue engineers and technicians to check central city buildings are safe to re-occupy. The Council has a number of building inspectors and engineers working their way through the city and they are being supplemented by USAR engineers, technicians and USAR command and support staff.

A Fire Service command unit has been set up on The Terrace to provide communications and support to the USAR contingent.

The City Council is also being supported by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the Department of Building and Housing.

Mayor Wade-Brown says the safety of Wellingtonians is paramount following last night’s 6.5 quake.

Safety checks are continuing as engineers walk the streets of the CBD, visually assessing buildings and roads.

This is expected to take the rest of the day, and people who normally work in the central city are advised not to come into the city today. It is important to note that some pedestrian routes may be blocked for longer periods to ensure there is no risk to passers-by from falling debris or broken glass.

Mayor Wade-Brown said the Council is advising building owners to arrange for structural engineers to check their buildings if they have any concerns about health and safety. The City Council can facilitate assistance in finding an engineer.

“We are also advising all workers to check with their employers before entering the city. We have had very few injuries as a result of the earthquake, and we want to keep it that way.”

Kiwirail is conducting safety checks on rail lines. Normal bus services are continuing, however there are no bus replacements for the trains.

People are advised that if they can work from home, they should do that.

She strongly advises Wellingtonians to take time to check on their neighbours and check on their houses and properties.

“It is also a prime opportunity for people to check their emergency kits - and also update their family emergency plans.”

She advises people to listen to the media or check media websites, or consult the WREMOnz Facebook page or this website.

Members of the public are being urged not to climb over or walk past barriers that are being used to cordon-off some parts of the CBD. “Please respect these barriers – they are there for a good reason – to stop people being hurt or killed by falling objects,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

Meanwhile the City Council’s Manager of Planning and Building Policy, Richard Toner, is asking building owners to check for broken windows and to secure them if there is a potential for glass to fall out. “With the wind picking up there’s the potential for cracked windows to blow or fall out so we’re asking building owners to make it a priority to check windows and secure them. We want to stop glass falling out that could potentially cause more of a dangerous environment.”