On Monday November 14, the North Canterbury region of Kaikoura in New Zealand was hit by a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the early hours of the morning. Subsequent earthquakes and aftershocks have been keeping people on high alert ever since, and many have been evacuated to Christchurch. Others have left of their own accord to neighbouring parts of the country.
The evacuation was time-sensitive, due to the increasing damage and potential for more devastation in the region. The Navy vessel HMNZS Canterbury was dispatched to assist with the people getting out of Kaikoura, and Allied was called upon to help out in Christchurch with the transport of peoples’ belongings.
Ready to give a helping hand
The HMNZS Canterbury docked in Christchurch at 1.30 a.m. on November 17, carrying 450 evacuees and seven tonnes of baggage, according to a media release from the Christchurch City Council.
Waiting for the vessel at the dock were two Allied drivers in their trucks, ready to help out in any way they could. Pete Sarchett and Andrew Lorite with their crews made a huge impact on the evacuation procedure, which streamlined the process of getting settled into temporary residences during a dramatic and unnerving time.
“We’ve been very, very well looked after and people have been pretty relaxed and pleased with how things have gone,” said Civil Defence Welfare Officer Claire Phillips.
“Many of the people on the boat tonight were from overseas, our guests in the country, and I think we’ve done them proud and looked after them.”
The large number of people needing assistance and the time pressure to make sure everything went smoothly made this operation a difficult one, but the Christchurch City Council was very pleased with the contributions from Allied and other members of the community.
“The evacuation has been a complete success,” said Acting Commander of Joint Forces New Zealand Air Commodore Darryn Webb.
“We achieved our immediate priority, which was to evacuate as many displaced people as possible from Kaikoura.”
Assistance where it’s needed
The Allied team in Christchurch feel for the people who have been displaced from their homes. We would like to thank all of the volunteers from the entire region in what is such a devastating natural disaster but one we know us Kiwis will overcome.