Coun­cil reps help out with quake af­ter­math

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

South Waikato District Coun­cil staff were quick to help dur­ing the re­cent South Is­land earth­quake re­cov­ery mis­sion.

Civil de­fence emer­gency man­ager Ian Wellings, build­ing con­trol man­ager Kevin Duthie, and group reg­u­la­tory man­ager Sharon Robin­son all flew down South in early De­cem­ber to help with the af­ter­math of the 7.8 mag­ni­tude quake which caused wide de­struc­tion.

Both Wellings and Robin­son were sta­tioned in Kaik­oura while Duthie was sta­tioned in the Hu­runui District.

‘‘It was a plea­sure to go down and help our col­leagues. We were on standby from day one, we of­fered our sup­port straight away, be­cause we know when an emer­gency hap­pens in our district we are go­ing to need help fast,’’ Robin­son said.

She said her and Wellings worked 12 hour shifts in plan­ning and intel.

‘‘[We worked] a bit longer when nec­es­sary but it didn’t seem to be an is­sue. Ev­ery­one was there to help each other,’’ she said.

‘‘Our role was to cre­ate plans for the rest of the emer­gency oper­a­tion centre to im­ple­ment and Ian had to pro­vide a sit­u­a­tion re­port to con­trol ev­ery­day so he did re­ally well.’’

Duthie said his role was to re­lieve the ex­ist­ing build­ing man­ager in the iso­lated Hu­runui District do­ing safety in­spec­tions on all build­ings.

‘‘They were very ap­pre­cia­tive and were neat peo­ple,’’ he said.

‘‘It worked re­ally re­ally well. It was the same size coun­cil as ours and they had the same com­puter sys­tem so I could go straight in and run with it.’’

Robin­son said it was the ru­ral ar­eas which were hard­est hit by the quake.

‘‘Na­tional Civil De­fence or­gan­ised all the lo­gis­tics of get­ting us there. We flew in in a he­li­copter from Christchurch Air­port and landed in a rugby field,’’ she said.

‘‘If you are walk­ing along the main area of Kaik­oura you can’t nec­es­sar­ily see a lot of dam­age. There are a cou­ple of build­ings that have been taped off but it is dif­fi­cult to see the real dam­age which is out in the ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment.’’

She said they were sta­tioned in Kaik­oura’s new coun­cil build­ing which fared well in the quake.

‘‘Ev­ery time there was a new earth­quake peo­ple would run out and watch the dust move of the hills with the new slips so that was quite spec­tac­u­lar,’’ she said.

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