A timely reminder

Where were you when yesterday’s earthquake hit at 1313 hours N.Z. Daylight Time?

It is a timely reminder to Christchurch that this earthquake sequence is an ongoing issue that still has a few more tricks up its sleeve. The earthquake and the aftershock sequence now in progress have reminded people that it still pays despite living in a vastly safer city to make sure ones emergency kit is still in good order – working radio, batteries, a few days water supply and/or purification tablets, tinned food, medicine, torch, candles/matches, and so forth.

For some this will be an unwelcome reminder of bad times that they thought were buried and gone. It will be a reminder of the struggles that ordinary people faced in the days after the 22 February 2011 earthquake when for four weeks the whole of Christchurch city was effectively on hold as it tried to grapple with its biggest ever disaster. The port-a-loos and the temporary water pipes, the sucker trucks and the sewerage tanks might be all gone, but the mangled roads remain. It is still possible to crudely distinguish property boundaries by the location of trees left standing on land that is now owned by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

For others it will be a reminder of a more graphic nature of their ongoing struggle with the Earthquake Commission and their respective insurance companies over getting paid compensation for damage caused by the 04 September 2010, 22 February, 13 June and 23 December 2011 earthquakes. Some have insurance claims dating back to September 2010 that are still being haggled over. Some of the claimants are in their 80’s and despite denials from both the Earthquake Commission and individual insurance companies, one cannot help but think that they are just waiting for the oldest claimants to die so no payouts are necessary.

For New Zealand at large this will be a timely reminder that the price we pay for living in such a beautiful country is a highly dynamic geological setting that is youthful (none of the rock strata that composes the major islands is more than 530 million years old) and boisterous (saw that in yesterday’s earthquake). By living here we accept that every now and again that nature will stage something that will cause disruption and possibly death. We cannot stop it, but we can take measure to mitigate the effects.

How we do that is up to us.

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