Christchurch, N.Z. – varying accounts of damage ratios and outcomes

Christchurch earthquake damage - 22 Feb 2011

Image by Shazster via Flickr

A  high percentage of damaged buildings, many that are built in the Gothic Revival style and considered landmarks, in the central city cannot be repaired.  The sizable amount of rebuilding will require closing many businesses and the cathedral until they can have their structures rebuilt.

(1) Engineers reveal a THIRD of Christchurch’s buildings have to be demolished and city centre could be no go area for months
February 27,2011

Engineers have said that at least a third of Christchurch’s buildings must be demolished and rebuilt after the devastating earthquake on Tuesday.

The damage to the decimated centre of the city could mean it was completely unusable for months to come as the death toll reached 147 today.

People held open-air church services on church lawns today to pray for the dead and missing after the 6.3-magnitude quake.

(2) These facts don’t compute: On Feb. 27, ChannelNewsAsia, N.Z. reports that a former N.Z. Prime Minister compares earthquake outcome in N.Z. with that of Haiti. That seems odd to me since the no. of deaths in Haiti were about a thousand times greater than N.Z. and the ratio of impact — death and injury counts and building loss –are not as severe as Haiti.  Excerpts from article below:

The scale of devastation in quake-hit Christchurch is comparable with the destruction wreaked in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, New Zealand’s former premier Helen Clark said on Monday, as rescuers prepared for the final death toll to rise above 200.  The stark assessment came with much of the city lying in ruins after last Tuesday’s 6.3-magnitude quake caused widespread death and destruction, toppling buildings and tearing up roads.

“The building damage I’ve seen compared with Haiti,” Clark, who now heads the United Nations Development Programme, told Radio New Zealand on Monday, referring to the massive quake which killed at least 220,000 in the Caribbean island in January last year.

“Let there be no mistake, New Zealand has suffered a tragedy of monumental proportions and it’s going to require every ounce of recovery in this country to push through from this,” she added.

The death toll in Christchurch reached 147 late Sunday but police fear more than 50 still listed as “unaccounted for” lie dead in the rubble.

Regarding the ratio of deaths from the earthquake relative to the total population, for Haiti the no. is 8% and for Chile and NewZealand the no. is less than 1%.

(3) A source of good, basic information: see the MCEER site ( SUNY/Buffalo Earthquake Center) for an excellent, chronological listing of articles and documents.

(4) Reuters, on Feb. 28th, writes that combined cost of the two biggest quakes will be about $20B.

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