they've run out of ambulances. The first flight of injured people just arrived at Auckland airport half an hour ago
There's info here:
google #eqnz site:twitter.com
Civil Defence Minister John Carter said all the South Island hospitals apart from Invercargill had been emptied to make way for earthquake victims.
It's all sounding awful. There's been so many aftershocks since last year that there's concern and discussion of PTSD - there's psychological health units all over canterbury that have been underused (there's worry too about people trying to be too stoic) - and now this.
The Salvation Army and Red Cross had been collecting donations for the region so I guess they still are.
Earthquake engineers are calling for tougher standards for strengthening old buildings after the catastrophic collapse of many pre-1970s buildings in the Christchurch earthquake.
The Pyne Gould building, Canterbury TV and other buildings where most lives were lost are all believed to have been built before a succession of increasingly tough earthquake-resistant standards began in the mid-1970s.
A 2004 change to the Building Act required all local councils to adopt policies to strengthen such buildings to at least one-third of the current building standard.
But engineers say that almost all councils, except Wellington, have adopted merely "passive" policies which do not require strengthening old buildings except when their owners seek new building consents for alterations.
And Auckland University Associate Professor Jason Ingham, a management committee member of the NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering, said the society advocated raising the requirement to two-thirds of the current standard.
"If you improve your building to only one-third of the building standard, it is still 20 times more likely than a modern building to fall down in an earthquake," he said. "At two-thirds, it's only something like three times as likely to fail."
But he said a Building Amendment Bill now before Parliament would weaken controls even further by removing an existing requirement for consent authorities to physically inspect new buildings before issuing code compliance certificates - now to be called "consent completion certificates".
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