Urgent phase of Christchurch quake response over

5:54 am on 21 March 2011

The national controller of Civil Defence, John Hamilton, says the urgent phase of the response to the Christchurch earthquake is now over.

He says the focus is now on a structured transition towards the full recovery process.

Mr Hamilton says he has set three operational priorities for civil defence staff, the first being community wellbeing.

He says that means ensuring access to safe housing and water, functioning sewage disposal, electricity and telecommunications.

It also includes making sure that medical facilities are up and running with a full range of services available and preferably with spare capacity again like before the earthquake.

Mr Hamilton says the other priorities are getting a strategy together to move to the full-blown recovery process and helping the restoration of business activity.

He says that means having facilities and support in place for businesses so they can operate outside premises which are either cordoned off or damaged to the extent they are no longer available.

Another priority is ensuring children have a good learning environment.