Life in Christchurch is becoming rather bleak with winter approaching. Every day another major employer lays off staff and there is really no good news available to boost spirits.
The city centre will remain cordoned for many more months due to the huge demolition job remaining. At present 180 large truck loads a day of concrete are carried away and honestly you can hardly tell that they have started. The job remaining is enormous.
Contracting services are working 24 hours trying to restore services but as soon as they fix one problem then we get another quake and another three develop. We have a hole in the road just down from the station that they fill every morning with metal but by next morning it has all disappeared and the hole got bigger. They have no idea where its all going. The emergency fence is disappearing in the hole now.
About 70 per cent of brigade members have either had to move out of or are remaining in very badly damaged houses. This makes keeping contact very difficult.Some are constantly having to move from house to house until a perminant solution is found. A couple are living on boats.
People are getting very frustrated with all the services that are available to assist as they are all full of good ideas but can supply nothing of substance. We, as members of the brigade are very lucky that the Service through the Benevolant Fund have been able to help us out, but having had to deal with EQC, Insurance, WNZ etc is a long slow head banging process.
Both Chistchurch City Station and Woolston appear to need rebuilding. Woolston Station consists of 2 shipping containers for offices and four for accomodation while City staff use a back packers next door for accomodation
On the bright side, all members are continuing to carry out their dutys in an extremely professional manner and it is an absolute credit to all. We can all feel very proud of ourselves as, what we have seen and done should not be experenced by anyone in a life time.
My special thanks to all who have assisted us, wether this be the USAR Teams, National Head Quarters staff, volunteer and paid crews from all over the country or those Welfare Society members who have volunteered their time to assist me in my role.
It was extremely reassuring to know that we had a 2 or 3 members out visiting staff at their homes and stations. This meant I have been able to sort out my problems and get life back to normal.
Many thanks, Kevin Crozier Region 5 Board Rep NZFFWS
PS. I have not noticed a rush of interest for my position on the Board