New Zealand earthquake: a touch of life-saving engineering

Last week, a normal flow of life for many was interrupted by the news of the second earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. In my family, we had reasons to be more worried than most: my partner’s close relatives live in Christchurch.

We hadn’t heard anything from  them for several days and were extremely concerned until the following email arrived this morning:

“…To recap, the second earthquake again ripped the power and phone lines from our house and all water stopped. We had water restored on Thursday at low pressure, so no hot water. Friday our power was reconnected to the house but needed an electrician to tape wires in the house before the power went. Saturday, half way through a load of washing, the water stopped again. The gusher over the road was stopped and our water along with it!

A water collection site was set up at the nearest primary school which is very close to us. So we are able to collect and all water we need for hand washing, teeth cleaning and cooking. We have been to friends who have power and water to have a shower every second day.

Yesterday we had our phone restored. As with the power, they had to put extra length into the wires as the earthquake had moved the top of the power pole further away from our house!!”

It all made me think of all those nameless workers and engineers: electrical, communications, sanitary etc. –  there may be the IET members among them too!) who are now working so hard to restore some normality to everyday life in Christchurch. We hear a lot about the heroism of rescue teams, fire brigades, volunteers etc., but not about the seemingly “mundane” efforts of our Christchurch colleagues. They deserve better recognition for their real, life-saving engineering.

If you know any of them, please write to this blog.”

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