Civil Defence's earthquake response to be reviewed

8:49 pm on 21 November 2016

A review of Civil Defence's response to last week's earthquake is likely to be initiated within weeks, the agency's director says.

Emergency kit

Workplaces and households have been stocking up on emergency kits since last Monday's 7.8 earthquake. Photo: RNZ

There has been criticism of the way the public was informed about the risk of a tsunami after last Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the upper South Island, which also affected Wellington.

View RNZ's full coverage of the earthquakes here.

Some residents in low-lying areas, who were potentially at risk, have said they did not receive notification of the hazard or were given mixed messages.

The 111 emergency phone service was also down for 30 minutes in the hours following the earthquake.

Sarah Stuart-Black, director of Civil Defence.

Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black Photo: RNZ / Mei Heron

Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black said the agency needed to get through the response phase of the emergency before it turned its mind to a review.

She said any review would take place after a conversation with the responsible minister.

"At this stage, we know that there's a number of issues that have been raised about what happened locally," she said.

"I don't have enough information on that, which is one of the reasons why we want to understand what happened around the country - that is a particular area I'm interested in as well.

"But I'm also interested in the across-the-board response."

Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the government wouldn't be diverting any Civil Defence resources from Kaikōura while it remained isolated.

He said the government would turn its attention to a review once Kaikōura was no longer isolated, which he said would need to look at tsunami warnings.

Emergency kits fly off the shelves

Meanwhile, the director of a company that sells emergency kits says it has had as many orders in the past week as it had all of last year.

Survive-It managing director Steven McLauchlan said it had been inundated with orders for emergency supplies since last week's earthquake, including grab-and-go and vehicle kits.

The company phone has not stopped ringing, and its website has had more than 12,000 views since last Monday, Mr McLauchlan said.

There have been 300 web orders, and about 40 emails from companies wanting supplies for their offices, he said.

"We just can't keep up at the moment, we're working with our suppliers to get product here as quick as we can, stock up on product.

"We worked a good part of the weekend just to try and get some orders completed."

At Countdown's supermarkets in quake-affected areas, including Wellington, there had been a 60 percent jump in sales of bottled water compared to the same week last year.

Canned baked beans and spaghetti sales were up 30 percent.

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