New Zealand quake victims remain positive amid destruction

The response among New Zealanders to the most devastating quake in decades has been "tremendous", with an "astonishing atmosphere of resilience" among affected communities, politicians and media said on Sunday.

Last Updated: Sep 05, 2010, 16:14 PM IST

Christchurch: The response
among New Zealanders to the most devastating quake in decades
has been "tremendous", with an "astonishing atmosphere of
resilience" among affected communities, politicians and media
said on Sunday.

The government said it had turned down international
offers of aid after yesterday`s 7.0 magnitude quake, as people
pulled together to help those left without shelter, food or
water.

Civil Defence Minister John Carter said the disaster,
which cut a swathe through Christchurch and the Canterbury
district, had brought out the best in people.

"It has been tremendous to see the people of Canterbury
rally around each other in this disaster and this has
certainly reduced demand on the welfare centres," he said.

"It is a great testament to our country that Kiwis can
call on family, friends and neighbours, and even in some cases
strangers, in times of emergency."

Although the streets were strewn with rubble and
shattered glass, and large holes and fissures had appeared in
main roads, officials today said they had the situation under
control.

Offers of help from the United States military and from
various United Nations programmes were refused, civil defence
director John Hamilton said, with the nation of four million
able to fend for itself.

"I suppose they`re probably surprised that we turned down
their offers of assistance because in most cases an earthquake
of the magnitude that we`ve experienced would inevitably
result in high casualty numbers and the need for humanitarian
assistance," he said.

"We`re very grateful that the offers were made and
fortunately we were able to say `not required`."

A state of emergency declared soon after the quake would
be reviewed tomorrow, officials said.

Yesterday`s earthquake caused a mess of crumbled
buildings, crushed cars and mangled roads which Prime Minister
John Key described as looking like parts of the city had been
"put in the tumble dryer and been given a darn good shake".

But after the initial shock, New Zealanders quickly set
about providing food and accommodation for those who had lost
their homes.

With electricity and water supplies cut, neighbourhood
barbecues were organised as families pooled food and water
supplies.

In rural areas, farmers set up a network of generators to
ensure all milking would be completed as quickly as possible.

Opposition leader Phil Goff said he was amazed at the
attitude of a couple he met removing possessions from their
house, which was only fit for demolition.

PTI