Kiwi quake wakeup call for Victoria

Seven-day store of supplies suggested

When word came that an earthquake devastated Christchurch, New Zealand last week, Victoria Fire Chief Doug Angrove and Brock Henson, Saanich emergency program officer, reached out to their emergency counterparts there.

A 6.3-magnitude quake – one of the nation’s worst-ever natural disasters – has led to nearly 150 confirmed deaths, with scores more trapped under debris and ravaged city infrastructure.

“We do have such a close tie with Christchurch,” said Angrove. “We just can’t imagine what they’re going through down there.”

The men visited New Zealand’s second-largest city last fall with a team of Victoria city engineers, planners and emergency officials, following a September 7.1-magnitude quake that left Christchurch vulnerable.

Watching the city’s recovery process prompted Angrove and Henson to say the crisis should serve as a reminder to Greater Victorians to be prepared with seven days’ worth of supplies on hand.

“Are we going to be so prepared that it’s not going to be a disaster?” Henson asked.

“My answer would be no. It’s going to be a disaster, but we can take significant steps … to lessen the effects that disaster is going to have.”