Many Christchurch rescue workers were unaware if their
friends and families were safe during the initial rescue
operation, a new study reveals.
Preliminary findings of a joint University of Otago and
Auckland University of Technology study, which surveyed 600
frontline workers in Christchurch, found many had not
contacted their families before responding to emergency
"Many had no time to contact their own families, lost their
homes and their workplaces, had family and friends who were
injured and are still experiencing a range of issues just as
many other people in Christchurch are," researcher Kirsten
"All of the workers I spoke to not only responded to the best
of their ability and within the very real constraints posed
by this natural disaster, but our preliminary results make it
clear they also experienced what we call dual jeopardy."
"Despite this, these workers continued to respond - working
and helping others in the days, months and weeks that have
followed and in addition to their quake-related response they
also continued and continue to respond to a range of daily
Preliminary findings of the study have been released in
response to criticism of the emergency response.
"Frontline workers in Christchurch and those who flew in to
assist them faced risks and challenging circumstances,"
principal investigator Associate Professor David McBride
"All of the participants in our study did their very best and
employed skills that saved lives. This should be acknowledged
Dr Lovelock added criticism around the emergency response
threatened to undermine the efforts of workers.
"While it is important to consider how things can be improved
it is also very important to remember this was a natural
disaster and frontline workers worked very hard to help
people under very difficult circumstances."
The study, which began last November, is due to be completed
- Teuila Fuatai, New Zealand Herald