Home' Whangarei Leader : March 15th 2011 Contents 18 WHANGAREI LEADER, MARCH 15, 2011
Helping Christchurch: Whangarei
Boys' High School held a red and black
mufti day on March 3 to raise funds for
the Christchurch earthquake appeal.
Just under $2000 was raised.
What if Auckland was shattered?
Auckland risk: What happens to
Northland if New Zealand's largest city
is put out of action by an earthquake?
The earthquake in Christchurch has rattled nerves
across the country. Major cities are asking how they
would cope if such a massive earthquake struck. Here
Pat Booth asks how Auckland would cope. Virtually all
the North's power supplies run through Auckland as do
travel routes south by road, rail and air. Commercial
activity and food supplies are all linked to Auckland.
Tell Auckland to plan for the
The advice came from Takeo
Ohara who lived through the ter-
rible 1995 Kobe quake and, as
executive director of his city s
research institute for regional plan-
ning, oversaw the recovery.
There are differences in scale --
Kobe lost 6279 people (and
recovered all but two of their
bodies). Within 20 seconds, 34,000
were injured, nearly 200,000 homes
were destroyed or damaged, a
million families were without
power, water, gas and sewerage.
The city shook through 700
aftershocks in the first 24 hours.
Kobe moved 20 million tons of
rubble and spent $10 billion
rebuilding its container port,
reconnecting 300,000 telephones,
repairing and replacing its two
wrecked expressways and the rail
that carried the famous Shinkansen
bullet trains. It also put up nearly
50,000 temporary housing units.
I was in the region during the
quake and flew back 12 months
later to see the recovery and to
question Takeo Ohara on the
lessons for Auckland.
If the demolition of Christchurch
doesn t match those terrible figures,
the advice he gave Auckland and
which I repeated in this and other
Suburban Newspapers publications
15 years ago still stands.
Question: What are the early
lessons from Christchurch that we
must now take into account
A study of likely disaster out-
comes in Auckland started in 1996.
It was scheduled to take four years
Questions: What was the outcome
and what has been done since?
Will the Christchurch experience
lead to change?
Now Auckland supercity bound-
aries take in former local bodies
who previously had their own
Question: The new headquarters
for disasters is in Pitt St. Experi-
enced emergency workers have
criticised the shutdown of local area
headquarters in Manukau, the
North Shore and Waitakere. Have
those worries been allayed?
Kobe s motorway system col-
lapsed. One log jam on the city s
roads a few days after the quake
trapped thousands in cars which
could not move for more than 12
Questions: What plans are there
to provide long-term bypasses while
Auckland motorways are repaired?
How safe are Auckland s bridges?
What about the essential service
pipes hitched to their spans?
Some of Kobe s hospitals went
into emergency mode but played no
part in the first stages of disaster
because they were cut off behind a
highly-damaged roading system.
What has been done to counter that
Christchurch may lose a thou-
sand CBD buildings. Wellington has
that many needing urgent earth-
How many in Auckland are listed
as potentially dangerous?
The building code -- as I under-
stand it from a Wellington survey in
the Dominion-Post: There was no
code until 1935, but buildings given
the equivalent of the Christchurch
green sticker as safe and usable
then would not qualify as safe now.
Later buildings which rated 100
percent compliant under 1965 rules
would now rate a marginal 34
The types assessed have appar-
ently also changed. Before a new
code in 2004, only buildings built
from unreinforced masonry were
assessed -- now all buildings can be
The Wellington survey says that
since the 2004 Building Act changed
the criteria, it s up to councils to
identify earthquake risk and issue
notices to owners to strengthen or
Question: How many buildings in
the supercity have got an implied
but not stated red sticker hanging
over them and what s been done
Canterbury earthquake scientists
didn t know their two dangerous
fault lines existed.
So what do we know about what
lies under Auckland?
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