Christchurch: $2 billion damage – and counting

The scene above was captured by Christchurch software developer Layton Duncan (aka @polarbearfarm). If you've got a photo, email down for more pictures.

Earthquake Commission (EQC) chief executive Ian Simpson estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair damage caused by yesterday's 7.1 magnitude quake, which struck 40km west of Christchurch.

And counting: Geonet recorded 11 aftershocks between midnight and 6am Sunday morning. The strongest - at 5.1 magnitude - hit at 5.20am this morning.

Aftershocks of up to magnitude 6 are expected over the next week.

Each aftershock further damages buildings already weakened by the quake, plus infrastructure like water and sewerage systems.

Metservice expected heavy rain and gales today, which Civil Defence said could could place significant stress on already damaged buildings and damage temporary repairs to buildings.

Restoration fund
Mayor Bob Parker established a Christchurch Restoration Fund late yesterday.

TelstraClear was the first to kick in, with a $100,000 donation.

A number of charities have also begun taking donation. BNZ offered $250,000 to the Red Cross and $250,00 to $250,000 to the Salvation army as part of a $1 million programme that will also include Foodstuff vouchers, and assistance to staff and customers.

The big money
EQC has $250 million in New Zealand-registered bank deposits, available more-or-less immediately to meet cash claims, and $5.8 billion (according to this March 2010 update) in its Natural Disaster Fund.

Under the funds procedures, EQC must ask Finance Minister Bill English for permission before liquidating any of the fund's assets in the event of a large-scale disaster.

The minister and the Treasury, are to offer advice on which assets to liquidate first under guidelines set up in 2001.

The EQC's fund is 33% invested in offshore stocks and bonds (the balance is in
New Zealand government bonds). "It is prudent for EQC to hold assets outside the region that will be directly affected by a major natural disaster," the organisation says on the fund's website.

The funds are primarily invested in shares from countries that are in the Morgan Stanley Capital (MSCI) World Index and the amount invested will be approximately proportional to the size and value of each country’s stock market.

Yesterday, Prime Minister John Key said the fund should cover most claims.

Lodging an EQC claim
Homeowners with insured properties that have been damaged by the earthquake can lodge a claim with the Earthquake Commission via the freephone number 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243).

People have up to three months to make a claim; up to 100,000 are expected.

Mr Simpson said he expects thousands of claims over the next few days and advises people who strike a busy signal to keep trying the lines.

Traffic cams back on - see for yourself
The MetService switched its Christchurch traffic camera network back on early Sunday morning (stils can be viewed through the agency's website).

The images show that while the CBD was left looking like a war zone, many parts of the city are comparatively unscathed, with many cars on the road.

The toll
According to a Civil Defence update posted at 4.25am Sunday morning, one person is in the intensive care Unit of Christchurch Hospital with serious injuries after being struck by a falling chimney; a small number have been treated for fractures and lacerations.

It is estimated that about 100 injured patients seen on Saturday relate to the earthquake.

Damage to buildings and smaller bridges was widespread, but in many cases minor, the agency said.

Many still without power, water
As darkness fell on Saturday, around 20% of Christchurch residents were without power, and around one third without water, according to Civil Defence estimates.

More than 100 buildings were damaged, and multiple roads, rail lines and bridges fractured, and water and and sewerage pipes ruptured. NBR Christchurch reporter Chris Hutching said anecdotal evidence suggested at least every second house suffered some form of structural damage in his suburb.

The latest Christchurch City Council update reads:

  • 15 to 30% of city still without drinking water
  • Main areas of difficulties are Eastern suburbs and Halswell
  • Two pumping stations in Avonside Drive have been severely damaged
  • 6 other pump station have been damaged
  • 500+ buildings have been damaged with over 90 in inner city. However this includes fallen chimneys.
  • Council is now shutting down broken water mains so pressure in the rest of the system can increase
  • The water supply is back on in Diamond Harbour
  • There may be whole streets without water for several days.

(The main council office also drolly notes on its site that "We've moved!")

Christchurch under curfew
Last night, police enforced a curfew around Christchurch from 7pm Saturday night until 7am Sunday morning.

The CBD has been cleared under the state of civil emergency declared on Saturday, with a cordon established to keep people out of the central business district, where falling debris is seen as a danger, and isolated looting took place earlier today.

The block between Kilmore Street, Madras Street, Montreal Street and St Asaph Street is currently cordoned, and the shopping centre and township area of Kaiapoi.

Anyone breaching the curfew faced arrest.

Around 80 police officers had been flown in from around the country to help maintain law and order.

Mr Parker has asked the government for army assistance as well.

PM visits
Prime Minister John Key, Deputy Prime Minister Gerry Brownlee and Civil Defence Minister John Carter flew into the city several hours after the quake.

Mr Key was being interviewed by a OneNews crew in the CBD when a fire broke out behind him in a building housing a massage parlour and party drug outlet.

A map displaying the pattern of aftershocks on Saturday morning. Courtesy GeoNet.

A state of civil emergency was declared around 10.15am yesterday, giving police the power to remove anyone still in the CBD.

Infographic courtesy Civil Defence. For EQC situation updates, and damage claim information, click here.

Authorities closed off the CBD and asked building owners to stay at home rather than attempt to check their premises.

Older brick buildings were the worst hit.

Some sewerage pipes had burst, raising fears of contaminated water.

Ruptured water mains and broken pipes caused surface flooding in several streets.

Faultlines were visible in multiple areas of the city, making the exact level of damage difficult to access, but raising fears that civil infrastructure repairs could take weeks.

Canterbury University geologist Mark Quigley said the Avon river had briefly burst its banks before settling back to its normal level. 

Infographic courtesy Science Media Centre. Click for larger image.

After-shocks expected
GNS Science duty seismologist John Ristau told the Science Media Centre that aftershocks were likely to continue for days, even weeks, though the largest aftershocks generally occurred within the first 48 hours of a large earthquake.

"A rule of thumb for a large earthquake at a shallow depth such as this is that the largest aftershock will be about one unit of magnitude lower than the main shock," he said.

Christchurch airport was closed for the morning for inspection but was reopened early Saturday afternoon. In some areas, roads have been cracked. Rail lines have also been ruptured in places.

The city's infamous boy racer community takes the dawn quake in its stride. Photo via the website of geologist Dr Mark Quigley.

Multiple shopfront windows have been shattered, and there were reports of looting in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Two men had been arrested, police said, in what appeared to be isolated incidents.

The quake was also felt in Timaru, elsewhere in the South Island and as far north as Hamilton. Darfield, the town nearest the epicentre, was the hardest hit.

Christchurch Hospital remained fully operational through the day, running on backup power.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

Telecom, Vodafone, 2degrees service updates
Telecom Gen-i chief executive Chris Quin said 111 services were operational. Christchurch services were running on backup power, and all calls being shifted to Hamilton, Wellington and Auckland so people can go to families."

"Services in our exchange building and data centre are okay. The issue is power to homes and buildings," Mr Quin said. Broadband was affected and some cellsites were operating on batteries. Critical services were being prioritised.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

But although the landline network was stable, many people were caught on the hop by power cuts as cordless phones (unlike older corded models) require AC power.

Vodafone head of corporate communications Paul Brislen told NBR that there appeared to be no damage to the carrier's Christchurch network.

However, the lack of power meant that Vodafone's cellsites, like Telecom's, were running on battery power during the morning.

People are asked to keep mobile calls as brief as possible, or txt.

Photo by @SkinBintin (reportedly of Hyundai's car storage building).

2 Degrees chief executive Eric Hertz said at 10.45am: “The majority of our network is unaffected, with only four sites not operating at the moment. Most sites are now running off emergency power and key sites have additional emergency backup generators supplied by petrol.

“Our customers can have the confidence to make calls and send texts as they would normally.”

“However, I would suggest that customers who have no local power at home take all practical steps to preserve their mobile phones’ handset battery life as there is no indication as to when local power will be restored to enable them to recharge their handset."

Mr Hertz was due to fly to Christchurch later today.

Telecom's network division, Chorus, posted the following update at 11.35am: "While the majority of the network has backup power, a small number of roadside cabinets have lost power affecting phone services to customers in the immediate vicinity."

Additional teams and equipment were being brought in from around the country.

ATMs coming back online
Financial services were also disrupted by the quake. As of 1pm, BNZ reported that 17 of its ATMs were closed, and 36 open (a list of locations is on the bank's site).

Late afternoon, residents had somewhere to spend their money and restock, too, with a supermarket in Hornby opening its doors.

Stuff: Aerial footage of the damage and flooding around Christchurch and Canterbury.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

Photo by @SkinBintin.

Photo by @SkinBintin

Photo by @swiftynz.

Photo by @polarbearfarm.

Photo by @polarbearfarm.


Photo by @polarbearfarm.

Photo by @ShenMansell.

Photo by @visionarymedia.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

Photo by Dr Mark Quigley.

Photo by @mrsgooding.

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all that govt money hitting the south island de ja vue


- In the past 50 days, the Earth has experienced a total of 10 earthquakes higher than 7 in the Richter scale, when many years there is only 1 each month… Most of them are taking place in the antipodes region of CERN at great depth, showing inner disturbances in the gravitomagnetic fields of the planet.
- The present surge in earthquake and volcano activity might be anthropic. 2010 is statistically the highest year on record on earthquakes for all categories, except for the man-made surge during II world war carpet bombing in 1943.
But what has humanity done this April 2010, to create fluctuations in the gravitational and magnetic fields of the earth responsible for magma motions that cause earthquakes? Very simple: we have switched on what is today the strongest gravitomagnetic field on this planet, the Large Hadron Collider.

Since Earthquakes, like avalanches, are released by a butterfly effect, the initial change on the gravitational and magnetic fields of the Earth neede to trigger the release of the potential energy stored in a fault is minimal, below the power of the LHC’s gravitomagnetic fields.

- There are 3 possible ways in which the LHC can cause earthquakes:
A) If the magnetic field of the magnets drawn above interact with other magnetic fields in the magma.
B)If it made black holes or strangelets that are now in the center of the Earth, slowly eating the planet.
C) If it produces perpendicular gravitational waves, affecting the antipodes (Tonga, Fidji region), which is reaching a maximal with occurrences at very deep level (over 500 km.)
- A cautionary stop of that machine and serious studies on its effects, which so far have been carried only by employees of the company, is long overdue for obvious bio-ethical reasons, since this year is also on the path to be the peak on human deads caused by Earthquakes.


Could be a good time to start putting offers in for cbd commerical buildings.. All that lost rent must mean some landlords will have to sell up.


Where can i find out which buildings got damaged so I can start buying them up dirt cheap??


From London - The reporting of this Story - New Zealand's biggest of the Year is an abomination!!
CNN has better coverage than the domestic media. I cannot fathom that NewstalkZB continued to use Holmes in Auckland to cover a Christchurch Story. This is absolutely amateur.
Stuff is doing an OK job, National is average and the TV Stations are just poor.
Come on NZ Journalists – You Can Do Much Better, You Can Provide More Up To Date and Live Information!!!


It happened at 4.30am. First mention on TV1 was 6.50am (strip on bottom) and report at 7am. TV2 TV3 and Prime all prerecorded pap without any report.


bbc news on tv1 reported at 5.00 am chc time


State insurance set to go bankrupt?


It's a sign of society's ills that none of the comments being made on this site show any sort of support the communities working their way through this event!



They will tell you they are performing a 'service' and are just being efficient by stripping the carcass bare.

I call them morally bereft.


well said.
some of the hateful remarks on this page are disgraceful! in times like this ppl should band together! not be hateful and... ugh. just ugh.


Wonder if the earthquake has done as much damage as allan hubbard has to all new zealands/taxpayers


Get the rocks out of your head Rex.
How about coming up with some plausible names of who should be in a crushed building.
Since your narrow mind hasn't got the creativity,I'll suggest some.
Graeme Burton
Paul Bailey
Clayton Weatherston
George Baker
Taffy Hotene
Michael Curran
Malcolm Rewa
William Bell
Bruce Howse and his brother
Joseph Thompson
Jason Reihana
If you are going to have a go at the commercial world,how about the Transfer Pricing teams at the four major Australasian banks who had to pay $2.2 Billion to the NZ Govt,which was 80% of what they were found guilty of ripping off the NZ Taxpayer.
If you are going to post on NBR .think before you do so.
Or else,don't bother putting up taggers posts..


Why don't you and Rex T get together,make up some placards,walk down the main street of Timaru yelling out in public as you are on this forum.
Then we will see who the big boys are.
I'll come up and be on the other side to you boys.


And to Thomas B. , We all know alan Hubbard is a massive scumbag and will die very soon anyway but there is no need to say that it was a shame he didnt die in the earthquake. You need to get a sense of moral standards.


The level of research and financial illiteracy on this forum is dreadful.
It is getting down to the level of the likes of BDO.


Anonymous at 02:05, I agree. Its sick too see people like Red Dog The Pirate Guy sticking up for people like hubbard.


If you are going to continue to steal my identity,at least get it correct.
I do not have a fullstop at the end.
I am going to report you.


"I'm going to report you" HAHAHAHAHAH


Get a life red dog the pirate guy. Your a loser


The comments appearing in relation to an "Earthquake" in Christchurch are a disgrace, mean spirited and simple minded, and quite demeaning for a paper that is the “National Business Review”. Is this the calibre of business people in NZ? NBR, you are tainted by association, it makes your paper look like nothing more than a Friday rag. I am reading this from Sydney, just think what other readers globally are considering. I am a Kiwi. There have been no offers of donation or assistance, nor concerns for people businesses, communities, and individuals welfare.


Anonymous at 02:42 pm, You will understand once people like hubbard cruise off to sydney soon and rip one off over you sydney boys.xx


Very good post which hits the nail on the head.
NBR is becoming like a tabloid rather than a business paper.
Looking at the posts on this thread,why would anyone subscribe ?
The focus should be on helping those who have been affected by the huge earthquake.
You already have Mark Bryers living in Sydney.


Thank you very much Kiwi living in Sydney.
We in Christchurch are doing our best to cope with this disaster which has caused billions of dollars of damage.
It is lamentable that some of the non Christchurch people posting on this forum think it is a joke.


Robbie, it is an article about an Earthquake, which potentially will have significant economic impacts on Christchurch.


I can't believe how narrow minded people can be. cant you stop and think of all these families in Canterbury that have been traumatised this morning, that have had their homes distroyed. Family members and friends hurt????? We need your help and support.


Myself and my family have had our building wrecked so we cannot operate our business and cannot live in our home which is in the same building.
And all these sick posters can talk about is how they hoped people would die in the earthquake.
What a sick world we live in.


Pretty sad comments however its true. Everyone complaining about up to $2b damage and then SCF goes under at $1.4b and everyone still thinks hubbards a hero. Grow up you sille people


@Kristine B, Sure you lost your house but think about how the rest of NZ feel. We just got ripped off by SCF by $1.b billion in this countrys biggest ponzi scheme ever!!!


Mainland bludgers. More tax dollars from the north.


Canterbury beat Auckland in the rugby.
So Aucklanders lay the boot in when we are struck by the worst earthquake in 80 years.
Sure Hubbard was past it.
But if you want to blame anyone it has to be both the major parties who agreed to the Guarantee Scheme.
As for a billion dollars,what it will cost we do not yet know.
If Hubbard really is a crook as you say he is,let us wait and see what he is charged with by the police.


This is pathetic. Have some thought for the people who have been impacted by this natural disaster. You were a fool if you invested in a finance company, this was well signalled to anyone who would listen 3-4 years ago. The whole finance company industry was a pyramid scheme. I am no fan of Hubbard and co.


It is about time we got the South Island Party going again.
The Mainland doesn't need anything from the smaller island.
We have it all already.
We punch above our weight.


George, grow up. We all know canterbury cheated in that rugby game against auckland.


at 05.11pm. Yeah you have everything but how did you make the money?? No doubt by setting up ponzi schemes?? We'd be happy if the south island had its own govternment. Would save us billions eg. SCF bailout, this big earthquake etc etc


Thanks John for coming down south and showing us your support at our hour of need.
Who said there were no decent blokes in Auckland.
And thanks to you and Bill for bailing us out of South Canterbury.
We are very grateful.
I remain a one eyed National Party Supporter.
The Nats will get lots of votes from down here next time around.


Im looking forward to buying some cheap properties there now. Thankyou god for the earthquake


South islanders should become a seperate country. They are sucking this country poor!!


To the above poster. I agree!! South islanders just keep needing money for more and more things (be it finance company bailouts or earthquake costs). Its a sick puppy a John Key needs to seriously look at making the south island not part of NZ!!


Yeah you have .... it wrong. Not sure why you think I have money and everthing. I left NZ to make a better living for myself and family, dispondent in relation to the savings and investments industry in NZ. I feel for all those involved in Finance companies, it is a natural disgrace, as are the comments posted on this article. I am off to read the AFR, now that's a good business paper. My thoughts are with the people of Christchurch at this time of disaster.


Sydney boy. Your thoughts are probaly with mark byers and his other crook mates living it up in sydney with you!!


This is Divine Retribution, thanks to Mr. Hubbard


now lets see if john key will spend money on real people and real property, not just banker mates this will be a whole new concept for him


Talking about Red and Black,I was up north a while ago and sitting down with some mates at a pub.
This guy came in with red and black rugby socks,red and black shorts and a black jersey with MM in red letters knitted it.
I said to him "How yah going Bro.Great to see some Canterbury supporters up north." and tried to shake hands with him.
He looked at me and took out this cap and put it on.
It said "Mongrel Mob."
He wasn't a very friendly bloke and I;m pleased he left with some takeaways.
There was an article in the local rag a while back about a heap of these guys being send down south to the new prison.
You can keep them up north.
We don't want our tax dollars down here being used to keep these blokes from up North.
It's your problem,you deal with it.
We'll keep our winning rugby team.
How many times has Auckland won the super competition anyway ?
John Hart was the best coach you had.
It's been downhill since then.


John has got a sister living in Christchurch so he will look after Canterbury.
We have been true Blue over the years,and he will not let us down in our hour of need.
I do not mind him giving Hubbard a bit of stick as Hubbard can't play innocent on the whole deal.
He let McLeod and his mates take money from little old ladies and give it to bars and hotels in Auckland.
Bad idea.


I'm with red dog on this one.
sensible sentencing trust has alot of criminals listed on its website.
How about having some of them in a building the next time we have an earthquake.
that will save a bit of coin.


Sorry the earthquake missed us down here.
Al and me live too far south of christchurch.
get a map out and have a look.
Anyway Pgg and Marac are the big finance companies in christchurch.
they aren't broke.


biggset in my life!!!!


Play the ball not the man.
Finance companies have always been full of crooks lending to other crooks.
Hardly anyone ever ends up behind bars.
Bryers is only a boy in the big man's world of sydney.
He wouldn't get a job as a shoeshine boy with the sydney crooks,
work in the security industry in sydney's pubs.
that's a bit of an eye opener
hubbard won't end up inside.
they won't pin anything on him.
mark my words.


a traffic cop once said to me "yoo are entitled to your opinion."
very good saying.


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