The five year anniversary of the 22 February Christchurch earthquake is upon usdavid meates

The Valentine's Day earthquake in Christchurch brought back many unpleasant memories but we can take strength from the way our clinical teams and organisations, that make up the Canterbury Health System have responded since the 2011 event to reorganise services to meet the post-quake challenges. It  can only be described as remarkable. It has been their work and professionalism that has continued to ensure that our community has been able to continue to access health services, despite an extremely abnormal environment.

After such events Canterbury District Health Board is often asked to provide advice on how people can look after themselves. Here is our advice:

1. Reach out to people: Talk to your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

2. Don't stop doing normal things like walking in the park and working on the garden -focus on the immediate good things in your life, it's often the little things that matter.

3. Acknowledge how you feel and reflect on past experiences, good and bad.

4. Remember what we have been through, and that we still stand strong.

5. Keep your activity patterns healthy, watch your diet and resist the urge to binge

6. If you are not coping, seek advice from your general practice team or phone the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846.

This wesbite was established to capture work stories, published articles, videos, and photographs that relate to the 22 February 2011 earthquake. These acknowledge and demonstrate the exemplary way people in the Canterbury Health System reacted on that day and in the days that followed. They also provide an official record that can be viewed by people all over New Zealand, and indeed the world.

Many other natural disasters occurred across the Asia-Pacific region during 2010 and 2011. Earthquakes and tsunamis in New Zealand, Pacific nations, and Japan; bush fires in Australia and floods in Thailand, China, Indonesia and Australia all caused havoc. Typhoons affected the Philippines and other adverse weather effects such as hurricanes, cyclones and super storms caused devastation within the Pacific Rim and more widely. Professionals played key roles in all these disasters.

In order to share this valuable knowledge more widely, Canterbury District Health Board is working with the New Zealand Rhise (Researching the Health Implications of Seismic Events) group to present an inaugural People in Disasters Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 24-26 February, 2016.

We are looking forward to hosting local, national and international delegates from a wide variety of backgrounds - leaders, decision makers and responders in health, government, emergency response, industry, education, trade professionals, community and voluntary agencies and other individuals who want and need to be prepared for a disaster.  For more information visit www.PeopleInDisasters.org.nz

Remember to be kind to each other because we know that people will be in different places in their journey post earthquake.

David Meates

Chief Executive Officer
Canterbury District Health Board