No quick fix for New Zealand earthquake recovery

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

The recovery after the New Zealand earthquake is expected to be a long process
The recovery after the New Zealand earthquake is expected to be a long process

Related tags: New zealand, Livestock

Farmers impacted by the earthquake earlier this month in New Zealand have been warned that recovery is going to be a long-term process.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) farmer director Phil Smith said he was humbled by the level of support offered to farmers but there is still a lot to be done.

“For many of us in North Canterbury, it was a terrifying experience. The noise and movement in our 120-year-old two-storey wooden house was unbelievable and while structurally, there appears to be no significant damage, we are sleeping in the single-men’s quarters for the time being. We can be grateful there were not more fatalities, but many families have lost their homes and their land and farm infrastructure has been seriously damaged.

“It seems a cruel blow, just as the region was starting to recover from drought. This earthquake and the on-going aftershocks really are testing the resilience of our rural community to the extreme,”​ he said. “The support that has been offered to affected farmers has been humbling and people have been only too willing to help with the initial clean-up – but recovery is going to be a long-term process.”

Smith said he had been contacted by volunteers from all walks of life. “I have been contacted by many skilled people offering to assist affected farmers – and their help will be needed in the days, weeks and months ahead. These include experienced shepherds and stock handlers with dogs who are willing to help with tailing and calf-marking and other stock related work, as well as fencers and tradespeople, all wanting to help get the farm infrastructure back up and running."

The New Zealand government estimated that repair work would cost more than NZ$2 billion.

To help with the aid relief, downloadable PDFs have been published, providing information for volunteers, organisers of volunteers and farmers as part of the Kaikoura Earthquake response and recovery.

  • Understanding your responsibilities​ – this includes information for volunteers, organisers of volunteers and farm owners in regards to health and safety.
  • Checklist for organisers of volunteers​ – this can be used for organisers of volunteers who will use this checklist to brief volunteers over the phone to check a volunteer’s suitability for the role by informing of the specific health, safety and other issues around working in post-earthquake conditions.
  • Registration form for volunteers​ – organisers of volunteers can send this form electronically to volunteers or provide in a hard copy format for volunteers to complete and send back, signed (either physically or confirmed via email) to confirm they understand the specific health and safety and other issues around working in post-earthquake conditions. 
  • Checklist for farmers briefing volunteers​ – farm owners can use this on-farm when they are briefing volunteers on their arrival.
  • Volunteer Register ​– farm owners can use this on-farm for volunteers to fill out their information and to record a time in/out.
  • Working in an Earthquake Zone​ – this information was taken from the Civil Defence website and we have also included emergency help numbers on this document.
  • Emergency Response Card​ – a resource for farmers to have on hand in the event of another emergency.

Related topics: Policy, Oceania, Supply chain, Dairy, Meat

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