Christchurch earthquake: Councillor unhappy with cordon

By Shabnam Dastgheib

A message of hope in Christchurch. Twitpic / @DARTgirl
A message of hope in Christchurch. Twitpic / @DARTgirl

Christchurch city councillor who is living inside the central cordon says police and Civil Defence could make life a lot easier for residents like him.

Yani Johanson has stayed inside the cordon following Tuesday's magnitude 6.3 quake after his building was given the green light by inspectors. About a quarter of those in his building have also stayed on.

"I'm very disappointed by the lack of communication between the residents and the authorities. After September's quake I said we needed a leaflet drop so people know what's going on. I've offered to do that myself but I can't print them without help so that hasn't happened," Mr Johanson told NZPA.

Mr Johanson's apartment is a block away from the ill-fated Canterbury Television building, which has collapsed. He says life in the cordon was a nightmare because of arbitrary rules imposed by police.

"We have a green-stickered building which is safe and we could get friends without accommodation to stay with us but because of the curfew and the fact that they can't get in the cordon, we haven't been able to offer that."

Mr Johanson questioned why the curfew began at 6.30pm when it didn't get dark until three hours after that. He also said he had been trying to get authorities to put portaloos inside the cordon but that hadn't happened yet.

"We don't have backyards which we can use so we have few options with our waste and I haven't seen any portaloos around. It is especially hard since we can't leave the cordon after 6.30pm.

"As inner city residents we need identification so we can get in and out of the cordon easily. Yesterday I had to walk an hour around the cordon to get to my place through a different entrance for no reason that I could see. It's just a joke."

Mr Johanson said the people of Lyttelton had identification to get in and out easily and he didn't see why those in the central city couldn't have that too.

The inner city was suffering but if police made life too hard then nobody would want to live there at all, and that would create a ghost town.

Superintendent Dave Cliff advised people to use the media to get updates about the current situation.

"In terms of updating them, we ask they just look at media, everything else the council is dealing with," Mr Cliff said.

Mayor Bob Parker, who also lived inside the central cordon, said there was no portaloo outside his house, either. However, more would be distributed in the coming days.

"We will work those in the city as we are working with those in the rest of town," he said.

Water would also be made available, he said.

- NZPA

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