Earthquake: E. Coli found in Kaiapoi water sample

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File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

E. Coli has been found in a water sample from Kaiapoi, reinforcing the need for residents of parts of Canterbury's Waimakariri district to boil their water after last week's earthquake.

E. Coli is a contaminant from human waste which can cause gastroenteritis.

Residents of Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki have been told to continue to boil their water for three minutes before use.

Waimakariri Civil Defence Controller Nick Harrison said it was not surprising that E. Coli had been found, given the amount of damage to water and wastewater pipes in the area.

Gastroenteritis can cause nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting that can last up to 72 hours.

Anyone suffering from the illness should:

* Drink plenty of fluids
* Stay away from school or work for at least 48 hours after symptoms ease
* Pay special attention to hand washing and avoid preparing food for others

Governor-General shocked by damage

The Governor-General earlier expressed his shock over the earthquake devastation in Canterbury.

Sir Anand and Lady Satyanand were this morning touring Civil Defence operations in Christchurch and later will visit the earthquake's epicentre near Darfield.

The Governor General saw Civil Defence operations at both Environment Canterbury and at the City Council's newly reopened civic building.

He told staff he and his wife were both shocked and amazed by the damage in Canterbury.

Sir Anand commended the professionalism of the responders and the goodwill shown by people throughout the country towards Christchurch.

He said there was a great sense of momentum in the region.

Six aftershocks hit the Canterbury region this morning, according to the GNS Science website.

The largest two measured 4.1 on the Richter scale - one hitting 10km south-east of Darfield at 9.05am, the other 20km south-west of Christchurch at 7.54am.

Schools reopen

Most Canterbury schools today reopened after the earthquake.

The Ministry of Education has published a list showing the status of schools in the region.

The majority opened this morning after a week of disruption caused by the devastating earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

However, Avonside Girls' High School, Christchurch East School, Linwood College, St Bedes College and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti remain closed to students until tomorrow.

Discovery One School and St Bernadette's School plan to reopen on Wednesday. Halswell School will also open on Wednesday but at a temporary location.

Waitaha Learning Centre intends to reopen on Thursday and St Paul's School in Dallington remains closed until further notice.

Trauma counsellors

Ten Australian trauma counsellors are due to arrive in Christchurch today.

The counsellors, from the Salvation Army, were part of an initiative to combat suicide and depression in rural Australian and provided support after devastating bushfires in Victoria last year.

Salvation Army spokesman Major Robbie Ross said many people in Canterbury needed someone to talk to, and Federated Farmers had asked for support for distressed farmers.

"The Australian culture is similar to our own - this is an important consideration in accessing additional trauma support after domestic emergencies," he said.

"A counsellor can help them process feelings about what they have been through and gain perspective on any fears they may hold about the future."

Twelve Salvation Army counsellors have been on duty in Christchurch since the quake hit on September 4.

Recovery legislation

Prime Minister John Key this morning said new legislation to set up an earthquake recovery commission and enable repairs to be done more quickly will be passed by Parliament tomorrow.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday he and Environment Minister Nick Smith would present a joint Cabinet paper to colleagues to consider.

"That will scope out the reconstruction legislation and will have a proposal in it for a reconstruction commission," he said.

"This has been discussed with all of the district councils and they have had a hand in writing of that bill."

The commission would be able to make long term repair plans - for example, some pipe reconnections were not permanent solutions.

Mr Key said the commission would include the mayors of the three affected areas.

"We want to deal with one entity... I think it's easier to bind them all together," he told Newstalk ZB.

Mr Key previously indicated that the legislation could include the ability to grant building consents retrospectively to get work under way.

Today he told Breakfast on TV One that it would be good for the region to lift the state of emergency and the legislation was needed so progress did not stall when that was done.

"So that's going to be passed, hopefully Tuesday, under urgency... It gives... ministers and Cabinet the ability to make calls and do things much more quickly."

Waimakiriri Mayor Relief Fund

Meanwhile, Environment Canterbury this morning said the Waimakiriri Mayoral Relief Fund had been virtually depleted.

Around 300 residents of Kaiapoi and surrounding towns had received immediate cash grants of up to $500 per applicant, the council said.

The fund was supported by donations including one of $100,000 from Mainpower.

- NZPA, Newstalk ZB and NZ HERALD STAFF

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