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March 5 report from a regular water deliverer

In terms of the immediate need for good water when there's no electricity to boil, in the slightly more affluent areas people seem, by and large, to be ok now. They are sourcing their own water, or know how to find it, or have generators, etc. The simple logistical issues of the first week have passed, and people have cars, family, money, and there are artesian wells in a lot of New Brighton, Dallington etc.

The big exception to this appears to be Avonside, which still needs a lot of water, despite the low population there.

The flipside of the number of empty properties is that a lot of the occupied properties are housing 8+ individuals, meaning increased strain on finances, resources, sanitation etc

Aranui still needs attention, and it has a high resident population still (cf. Bexley and Avonside, which are ghost-towns). That said, if the power is 95% back on over the weekend (are they still predicting that?), then Aranui also really only needs one more good day of water distribution.

As for other needs, I think the main issue is distribution. The extra costs involved for people, plus loss of work, must mean that people will be suffering financially, quite significantly in some cases. Plus, of course, the options for cooking without power are expensive and difficult.

Also, simply the stress of the whole business has got to be putting enormous pressure on people.

I'm not an organiser, but if I were wanting to organise something useful, I'd actually say that finding ways to get people to the Windsor Welfare Centre and assisting them to apply for the Red Cross Lack of Services payout when it becomes available, would be the best thing for the most at-risk people. Or more realistically perhaps, lobbying the Red Cross to get them to set up an applications caravan in Aranui and getting people to it.

Lower priority, and even more ambitious, qualifying residents without power could be visited by smart-phone-bearing folks helping them to apply for Earthquake Job Loss Cover....

As I said earlier, I found today that the small amount of food items that I had were very happily received by people whom I think would have refused them even a few days ago. That was in Avonside.

Re demographics: south of Pages Road, both Bexley and Aranui are noticeably more affluent (except for the Rowses Road area east of Breezes Road in Aranui), so focus on the other areas.

March 5 opinion from a Civil Defence volunteer

With the declaration of a national state of emergency (quite properly), control passed to Wgtn-based (i.e. parliament's bunker) CD. Although that staff is now in Chch they lack local knowledge and initially worked on the basis that if they divided up the city geographically everything could be dealt with nicely. Also, monitoring 0800 calls and calls to the council etc showed that there was need in certain areas, and, again quite properly, resources were directed to service those needs. But:

  1. If you have no power, no landline and your cellphone can't be charged, you can't let your needs be known. No power = no computer, so forget websites. No power = no TV.
  2. If you're towards the lower end of the socio-economic scale your resiliance and ability to make local needs known may be limited. You don't buy newspapers and it's impossible to deliver the freebies.
  3. If you've got anything up to a metre of silt or liquid on your property or street forget trying to get your vehicle, bike or even gumboots out to go and get help.

In short, you're stuffed. One lesson from the Sept quake was that regardless of what happens elsewhere, the low socio-economic will come off worst. I don't think it really sank in then but now, this is definitely the case.

Chch East, our poorest area, has a huge, huge need (I understand Wellington city CD is even now revising it's aid plan to focus assistance on the lower socio-economic areas). And as few were in a position to make their needs known it was considered less important than those where the numbers showed.

Hence, the welfare centre at Cowles Stadium is not being considered for reopening when it gets power. Meanwhile, Pioneer is now the only centre - power but no water. Miles away from the areas with greatest need. There are plenty of portaloos on Frankleigh Street (near Pioneer) and the roads have been tidied up nicely.

Published courtesy of Webcentre Ltd, with many thanks to Vodafone for their initial mobile data donations. And to the guys on the ground from Orion, who were just great.

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