New Zealand’s worst disaster happened on 22nd of February 2011. A terrible 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch has destroyed the heritage city centre and surrounding suburbs, around 200 people have lost their lives in horrible circumstances, countless have suffered injuries, damaged homes, job losses, business closures and highly uncomfortable living conditions. The earthquake struck 6 months after a first big shake and hundreds of aftershocks, people in Christchurch live in constant fear of another disaster - this will take years to heal.
Christchurch will be rebuilt stronger and safer than before, the compassion of fellow New Zealanders is enormous and the community spirit shown is another proof of why New Zealand is such a great country.
But New Zealand is also in the middle of a recession and social services budgets are already small - your support is desperately needed for example to pay for emergency accommodation, the many warm meals that are provided by volunteer organisations and to help uninsured and unemployed families to a new start.
Even 10 NZD will make a difference. Please donate online or by credit card and thus become a part of the rebuilding of a great city. Thank you.
Apart from the close Christchurch region suffering aftershocks, the risk of earthquakes in New Zealand is not higher than it was before. Many other regions in New Zealand have no earthquake risk at all to consider, others are stable for a long time.
There was a lot of bad luck involved in this earthquake:
- it hit New Zealand’s second biggest city hit directly in its centre
- it was very shallow which made it more destructive than the 7.1-magnitude 4 September 2010 earthquake
- it was the first big earthquake disaster in New Zealand since 1931
- it occurred during lunchtime when the city centre was full of people and
- it hit buildings already weakened by hundreds of aftershocks from the previous earthquake.
Actually it could have been worse because New Zealand has for a long time adopted very strict building regulations considering earthquake risk. These regulations will probably be revised to make them even safer than before, thus improving the infrastructure of Christchurch and all other cities.
Christchurch airport is open and was not damaged by the quake. Christchurch is still the gateway to the south and depending on the availability of accommodation providers there is no reason why you should change your travel plans. The Canterbury region needs your support, the tourism providers need to survive this long recovery ahead.
- It is estimated that the total Christchurch rebuild costs NZD 40 billion.
- In October 2011 the new Re: Start Mall has opened consisting of lots of interesting and creative container shops in Cashel Street.
- In March 2012 the enlarged Rugby League Park was reopened (the Christchurch Rugby Stadium).
- April 2013: opening of a new international terminal in Christchurch Airport.
- As a temporary cathedral and innovative special attraction the 'Cardboard Cathedral' (partly made of cardboard) is inaugurated with 700 seats.
- Quake City in Cashel Street is an interesting museum about the Christchurch earthquake.
See Risks and dangers in New Zealand for more information.