Shake fails to stir safety action
The reaction of Marlburians to Tuesday night's magnitude 7.0 earthquake has been somewhat muted, but emergency authorities are appealing to the public to take heed and ensure they are prepared for another major event.
The quake, 230 kilometres deep and centred 60km south of the Taranaki town of Opunake, occurred at 10.36pm and was felt across most of the country, from the Bay of Plenty to Otago.
Though many Marlburians would have felt it, Kathmandu assistant manager Lee-anne Smylie said the store had not been inundated with customers wanting to get emergency kits. Sales were normal compared with the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake in February last year, when the store was "cleaned out" of glow sticks, torches and other quake-related items.
Blenheim New World owner Mark Elkington said there was no noticeable increase in sales of torches, batteries, and bottled water. "No, certainly not compared to the Christchurch earthquakes," he said. The supermarket had sold out of bottled water after the February quake.
Mitchell Sports Power senior sales assistant Lorraine Boyce said customers were not buying emergency items. There had been no damage to stock apart from a couple of boxes of shoes which had fallen from a shelf, she said.
Blenheim AMI Insurance manager Karl Townsend and a State Insurance spokeswoman said no insurance claims had been lodged.
The Earthquake Commission dealt with most home and contents claims after a quake, he said.
Marlborough District Council's manager of assets and services, Mark Wheeler, said there was no reported damage to council buildings in Blenheim. The quake was not big enough to damage the War Memorial Clock Tower in Seymour Square, which has been fenced off as it falls short of quake building standards.
Despite the lack of damage or rush to stock up on emergency supplies, Marlborough Emergency Management Group services manager Ross Hamilton said people needed an emergency kit with supplies to last each person at least three days. This included three litres of water per person each day, along with food, torches, batteries, clothing, and essential items such as insurance papers and non-replaceable valuables.
"We do sit on a number of faults in Marlborough – we've got the Alpine fault, the Hope fault and the Awatere fault. They're faults that could rupture at any stage."
However, earthquakes were just one of the risks – people also needed a contingency plan for flooding and tsunami, he said.
Mr Hamilton is Marlborough co-ordinator of the national civil defence exercise planned for September, the New Zealand ShakeOut earthquake drill at 9.26am on Wednesday, September 26 (9:26-26:9). As part of that, a simulation of an earthquake will be run for the public to participate in.
Civil Defence Minister Chris Tremain said the earthquake was a timely reminder for Kiwis to be earthquake-prepared. He urged people to participate in ShakeOut.
The ShakeOut website now includes a link on regional earthquake hazards: shakeout.govt.nz/whyparticipate.
- The Marlborough Express
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