Post-earthquake Christchurch proves good training ground

Rock Fall
Rock Fall

During the ELTO Intake 45 field trip, the officials had opportunities to visit key sites, meet with professional counterparts, and hear presentations about the 2010-11 earthquakes and the community response and rebuilding.

The programme for the whole group included a visit to Quake City (part of Canterbury Museum), an inner city tour, a bus tour guided by two engineers covering Red Zone, liquefaction areas and rock fall areas; a speech by HE Phillip Gibson, MFAT special envoy on DRM, a visit to the Cardboard Cathedral, the 185 White Chairs, and Memorial wall, and a visit to meet Volunteer Student Army members at Canterbury University.

Small professionally-focussed subgroups went to a presentation on rock falls and slips by Professor David Bell, a walking tour led by GapFiller and a visit to meet the All Right? Campaign at the Canterbury Community Public Health Headquarters.

A highlight was the opportunity for ELTO officials working in urban search and rescue to meet up with their New Zealand counterparts, the South Island USAR team, aka NZRT-1. Of course, despite the packed academic schedule, there was also time in the evening for a round of student-designed games.

 “It was quite exceptional to learn about catastrophic earthquakes and their impacts, including liquefaction, on widespread properties and lives. I was shocked once I witnessed all the significant places suffering from the earthquakes,” commented one official.

 Many felt saddened but inspired by the spirit of the people: “I noticed the spirit of the people of Christchurch as they responded and recovered from the natural disaster. It was really sad to see hectares of land being empty. One thing that I observed from the visit was how people helped each other and kept their spirits up.”

 “In short, it was really an experiential study trip with effective learning outcomes that we could learn much more than reading the books,” commented another. “It also contributed a lot of knowledge and understanding of community resilience. This also provided inside of recovery, not just only the visible assets, but it has to think about the human feeling to make the community people feel better with their wellbeing to live in their communities



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