Firie hon­oured for quake ef­fort

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA NU­GENT

WHEN Christchurch was hit by a 6.3- mag­ni­tude earth­quake in 2011, a Townsville fire­fighter knew he would have to fly out to help find the bod­ies.

Act­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent Kevin An­der­son led one of two Queens­land Ur­ban Search and Res­cue teams sent to New Zealand in the wake of the dis­as­ter, which killed 185 peo­ple and in­jured thou­sands.

Now he is among 90 Aus­tralians whose ef­forts in Christchurch have been recog­nised with the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Over­seas Ser­vice Medal. Act­ing Supt An­der­son was in the sec- ond ro­ta­tion of search and res­cue fire­fight­ers sent to Christchurch and helped man­age the ef­forts from the task­force op­er­a­tion base.

By this stage, one of the main jobs was to re­cover bod­ies from the CTV build­ing site where 115 peo­ple died.

Act­ing Supt An­der­son said streets were cor­doned off by po­lice tape and streets were de­serted when they ar­rived.

“It was to­tal dev­as­ta­tion through a lot of the city,” he said. “Ba­si­cally, down­town Christchurch was like a ghost town.”

Act­ing Supt An­der­son had taken part in nu­mer­ous dis­as­ter ef­forts be­fore, in­clud­ing the 2009 earth­quake in Padang, In­done­sia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.