Mayor Bob Parker says the 22 February earthquake and subsequent emergency response was a time of huge upheaval for the city and region.
“It is important that we look back on what occurred and learn from the event. There have been a number of reviews carried out into the management of the emergency response and the learnings of this latest review will, like the others, outline what went well and where improvements can be made.
“We have very few examples of disasters of this scale in New Zealand and we must learn as much as we can from these events so we are prepared for the future,” Mayor Parker says.
Chair of the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Joint Committee, Timaru Mayor Janie Annear, welcomes the report and says that work has already significantly progressed on improving emergency responses in the region.
“There are many lessons for all of us from this tragic experience. Councils play a key role in managing emergencies and we will continue to work together as a group to improve and strengthen our working relationships around emergency management. We have already done a great deal, including working with MCDEM, to improve our ability to respond to an emergency and we are confident that our region’s emergency response and planning systems are better than ever.”
Canterbury’s CDEM group is a partnership of local authorities, emergency services and other organisations involved in civil defence.
The MCDEM review released today offers praise for the Christchurch community in the hours and days following the earthquake. It also praises:
- the leadership shown by the National Controller, Minister and Mayor
- the actions of emergency services and Council staff to bring “order from the chaos of the day”
- the Council for its work to restore functional water and wastewater services and roads
- the preparedness of key organisations such as Orion, the Port of Lyttelton and Christchurch International Airport, which meant that lifelines could be quickly restored
- the technical competence of work to inspect damaged buildings and determine their safety
good media communications from Civil Defence
- overall, the report found: “…the response to this extremely challenging situation can justifiably be regarded as having been well managed and effective."
The review also pointed out areas where the emergency response could have been improved, including:
- better relationships between the various agencies involved in the Civil Defence response
- a stronger management structure for the response
- training for a greater number of people in responding to emergencies
- better lines of communication between Civil Defence emergency response leaders, the community and business sector and internal information sharing
- the distribution of thousands of portaloos.
Links to the Report and related documents are below: