Wednesday 23 February 2011
ShelterBox aid en-route to New Zealand
On 22 February a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch causing significant loss of life, casualties and damage to infrastructure.
A ShelterBox Response Team were soon at the scene and have been working with local authorities today to assess the need for emergency shelter and equipment.
ShelterBox New Zealand Director, Lindsay Thorburn, was having lunch on the outskirts of Christchurch when the earthquake struck. He says he was ‘lucky’ to be out of the city centre.
‘I was in the café about 2kms out of the town centre when the quake hit. It was horrific, plates of food cups of coffee smashing and flying all around me. People cut and bleeding everywhere, luckily I was not one of them. For the next 5 hours I helped those who were in most need.
‘After the quake I stayed with a friend in Christchurch. His house was one of the lucky ones to survive the tremors but the inside has been trashed. I found him and his family just sitting amongst their broken furniture, glasses, TV's, computers and other house hold items too dazed to know where to start or what to do first. People are just in absolute shock.
‘All day I’ve seen people crying outside their homes too frightened to re-enter with a look of devastation on their faces. The roads were in gridlock and no public transport was operating so people were walking home dazed and confused.
‘The aftershocks are still coming thick and fast and I really feel for all those still caught up in the rubble without water or power. I feel fortunate to be unscathed and to have been able to make it out of Christchurch alive.’
ShelterBox has shipped 120 boxes and 200 tents into Auckland, New Zealnad where they will currently remain until the New Zealand authorities need them. ShelterBox continues to liaise closely with the authorities regarding any needs they have.
John Leach, Head of Operations at ShelterBox, said: ‘It’s difficult during the early stages of a disaster such as an earthquake to fully assess the need for our aid. The Christchurch quake has caused extensive damage to the area’s buildings and infrastructure so we are preparing to respond with whatever the authorities require.