Working paper

Governing the recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes 2010 -11: the debate over institutional design

Emergency management Disasters New Zealand

The quake caused significant damage to the Canterbury region with power outages, ruptured pipes, falling masonry, collapsed buildings, and liquefaction 1 across the region. The majority of the damage was sustained in particular areas of Christchurch city and in parts of Kaiapoi in the Waimakariri district. Nevertheless, the earthquake was economically significant, with damage of approximately $5 billion (Treasury, 2011).
While Canterbury faced a massive clean-up and long recovery, fortunately no lives were lost, largely because the majority of residents were in bed, the location of the sparsely populated epicentre, and the quality of New Zealand’s strict building codes. The region faced over 1,400 aftershocks in the month following the September quake (Parliamentary Library, 2010). Aftershocks continued in the coming months, the most significant and damaging of which was a 4.9 magnitude quake on Boxing Day 2010.
This quake produced more intense shaking than the September 4 th quake at its epicentre, with peak ground movements of 48% of the acceleration of gravity compared to 15% to 20% on September 4 th (Gorman, 2010). However, the Boxing Day quake was shorter, so less damaging.

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