Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There but for the Grace of God

This building is in Christchurch, but
it is very similar to many Victoria buildings
Christchurch was hit today by a second large earthquake in less than six months.   The city is very similar to Victoria in size and in style of buildings.

I have looked for some pictures from today's earthquake to show how close the two cities look and feel.   Some of the building facades could be somewhere in Old Town.

The first earthquake was bad but did not devastate the city.   There were no deaths though some buildings were destroyed.   The city was spared because the 7.1 magnitude quake was some distance from the city.   The total estimated cost of that earthquake was around $3 billion (Canadian now Kiwi dollars)

This is the probable fate of buses in Victoria's Old Town
Today at just before 1 pm New Zealand time there was a second quake.  It was weaker than the first but closer to Christchurch.   It was also in the middle of the work day.   This time the city saw a lot more damage and there have been a fair number of deaths, 65 is the number quoted in the media though only 32 are confirmed at the moment but some reports are talking of several hundred possible deaths.

For Victoria this earthquake has to be a wake up call.   Are we ready for an earthquake?  Could we really cope?

It is highly probable that we will experience a major earthquake in Victoria within the next generation or two.  We last had a major earthquake on the island in the 1940s and in the region in 2001.

There has has been a lot of work locally to try and get us all prepared for when the earthquake happens but I am not certain most people have taken it to heart.   I know there are many sets of emergency supplies around the city in shipping containers, most of them on school grounds.   I have a rough idea of what I have in my house but I have not gone through it specifically to ensure it is quake proofed as much as I can and I do not have an emergency kit made up.

There is a source online of mapping done by the provincial government that assessed the relative risk of damage in an earthquake.   My home is located in an area of the lowest risk in the region.  Much of Old Town is located in a high risk area for amplification of the shaking.

 I look at the pictures of Christchurch and see damage to a lot buildings that are very similar to what we have here in Victoria.   The more I think about it, the more I would not want to have an office in Old Town, the risk is too high of the buildings collapsing.  

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